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Title: The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2 - Books 4, 5, 6 and 7
Author: - To be updated
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2 - Books 4, 5, 6 and 7" ***

to John B. Hare at www.sacred-texts.com



Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa



Translated into English Prose from the Original Sanskrit Text


Kisari Mohan Ganguli


Scanned at sacred-texts.com, 2003. Proofed at Distributed Proofing,
Juliet Sutherland, Project Manager. Additional proofing and formatting at
sacred-texts.com, by J. B. Hare.


(Pandava-Pravesa Parva)

OM! Having bowed down to Narayana, and Nara, the most exalted of male
beings, and also to the goddess Saraswati, must the word Jaya be uttered.

Janamejaya said, “How did my great-grandfathers, afflicted with the fear
of Duryodhana, pass their days undiscovered in the city of Virata? And, O
Brahman, how did the highly blessed Draupadi, stricken with woe, devoted
to her lords, and ever adoring the Deity[1], spend her days unrecognised?”

Vaisampayana said, “Listen, O lord of men, how thy great grandfathers
passed the period of unrecognition in the city of Virata. Having in this
way obtained boons from the god of Justice, that best of virtuous men,
Yudhishthira, returned to the asylum and related unto the Brahmanas all
that had happened. And having related everything unto them, Yudhishthira
restored to that regenerate Brahmana, who had followed him the churning
staff and the fire-sticks he had lost. And, O Bharata, the son of the god
of Justice, the royal Yudhishthira of high soul then called together all
his younger brothers and addressed them, saying, ‘Exiled from our
kingdom, we have passed twelve years. The thirteenth year, hard to spend,
hath now come. Do thou therefore, O Arjuna, the son of Kunti, select some
spot where we may pass our days undiscovered by our enemies.’

“Arjuna replied, ‘Even by virtue of Dharma’s boon, we shall, O lord of
men, range about undiscovered by men. Still, for purposes of residence, I
shall mention some spots that are both delightful and secluded. Do thou
select some one of them. Surrounding the kingdom of the Kurus, are many
countries beautiful and abounding in corn, such as Panchala, Chedi,
Matsya, Surasena, Pattachchara, Dasarna, Navarashtra, Malla, Salva,
Yugandhara, Saurashtra, Avanti, and the spacious Kuntirashtra. Which of
these, O king, wouldst thou choose, and where, O foremost of monarchs,
shall we spend this year?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou of mighty arms, it is even so. What that
adorable Lord of all creatures hath said must become true. Surely, after
consulting together, we must select some delightful, auspicious, and
agreeable region for our abode, where we may live free from fear. The
aged Virata, king of the Matsyas, is virtuous and powerful and
charitable, and is liked by all. And he is also attached to the Pandavas.
Even in the city of Virata, O child, we shall, O Bharata, spend this
year, entering his service. Tell me, ye sons of the Kuru race, in what
capacities ye will severally present yourselves before the king of the

“Arjuna said, ‘O god among men, what service wilt thou take in Virata’s
kingdom? O righteous one, in what capacity wilt thou reside in the city
of Virata? Thou art mild, and charitable, and modest, and virtuous, and
firm in promise. What wilt thou, O king, afflicted as thou art with
calamity, do? A king is qualified to bear trouble like an ordinary
person. How wilt thou overcome this great calamity that has overtaken

“Yudhishthira replied, ‘Ye sons of the Kuru race, ye bulls among men, hear
what I shall do on appearing before king Virata. Presenting myself as a
Brahmana, Kanka by name, skilled in dice and fond of play, I shall become
a courtier of that high-souled king. And moving upon chess-boards
beautiful pawns made of ivory, of blue and yellow and red and white hue,
by throws of black and red dice, I shall entertain the king with his
courtiers and friends. And while I shall continue to thus delight the
king, nobody will succeed in discovering me. And should the monarch ask
me, I shall say, “Formerly I was the bosom friend of Yudhishthira.” I
tell you that it is thus that I shall pass my days (in the city of
Virata). What office wilt thou, O Vrikodara, fill in the city of Virata?’”


“Bhima said, ‘I intend to present myself before the lord of Virata as a
cook bearing the name of Vallabha. I am skilled in culinary art, and I
shall prepare curries for the king, and excelling all those skilful cooks
that had hitherto dressed his food I shall gratify the monarch. And I
shall carry mighty loads of wood. And witnessing that mighty feat, the
monarch will be pleased. And, O Bharata, beholding such superhuman feats
of mine, the servants of the royal household will honour me as a king.
And I shall have entire control over all kinds of viands and drinks. And
commanded to subdue powerful elephants and mighty bulls, I will do as
bidden. And if any combatants will fight with me in the lists, then will
I vanquish them, and thereby entertain the monarch. But I shall not take
the life of any of them. I shall only bring them down in such way that
they may not be killed. And on being asked as regards my antecedent I
shall say that--“Formerly I was the wrestler and cook of Yudhishthira.”
 Thus shall I, O king, maintain myself.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘And what office will be performed by that mighty
descendant of the Kurus, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, that foremost of
men possessed of long arms, invincible in fight, and before whom, while
he was staying with Krishna, the divine Agni himself desirous of
consuming the forest of Khandava had formerly appeared in the guise of a
Brahmana? What office will be performed by that best of warriors, Arjuna,
who proceeded to that forest and gratified Agni, vanquishing on a single
car and slaying huge Nagas and Rakshasas, and who married the sister of
Vasuki himself, the king of the Nagas? Even as the sun is the foremost of
all heat-giving bodies, as the Brahmana is the best of all bipeds, as the
cobra is the foremost of all serpents, as Fire is the first of all things
possessed of energy, as the thunderbolt is the foremost of all weapons,
as the humped bull is the foremost of all animals of the bovine breed, as
the ocean is the foremost of all watery expanses, as clouds charged with
rain are the foremost of all clouds, as Ananta is the first of all Nagas,
as Airavata is the foremost of all elephants, as the son is the foremost
of all beloved objects, and lastly, as the wife is the best of all
friends, so, O Vrikodara, is the youthful Gudakesa, the foremost of all
bowmen. And O Bharata, what office will be performed by Vibhatsu, the
wielder of Gandiva, whose car is drawn by white horses, and who is not
inferior to Indra or Vasudeva Himself? What office will be performed by
Arjuna who, dwelling for five years in the abode of the thousand-eyed
Deity (Indra) shining in celestial lustre, acquired by his own energy the
science of superhuman arms with all celestial weapons, and whom I regard
as the tenth Rudra, the thirteenth Aditya, the ninth Vasu, and the tenth
Graha, whose arms, symmetrical and long, have the skin hardened by
constant strokes of the bowstring and cicatrices which resemble those on
the humps of bulls,--that foremost of warriors who is as Himavat among
mountains, the ocean among expanses of water, Sakra among the celestial,
Havya-vaha (fire) among the Vasus, the tiger among beasts, and Garuda
among feathery tribes!’

“Arjuna replied, ‘O lord of the Earth, I will declare myself as one of the
neuter sex. O monarch, it is, indeed difficult to hide the marks of the
bowstring on my arms. I will, however, cover both my cicatrized arms with
bangles. Wearing brilliant rings on my ears and conch-bangles on my
wrists and causing a braid to hang down from my head, I shall, O king,
appear as one of the third sex, Vrihannala by name. And living as a
female I shall (always) entertain the king and the inmates of the inner
apartments by reciting stories. And, O king, I shall also instruct the
women of Virata’s palace in singing and delightful modes of dancing and
in musical instruments of diverse kinds. And I shall also recite the
various excellent acts of men and thus conceal myself, O son of Kunti, by
feigning disguise. And, O Bharata should the king enquire, I will say
that, I lived as a waiting maid of Draupadi in Yudhishthira’s palace.
And, O foremost of kings, concealing myself by this means, as fire is
concealed by ashes, I shall pass my days agreeably in the palace of

Vaisampayana continued, “Having said this, Arjuna, that best of men and
foremost of virtuous persons, became silent. Then the king addressed
another brother of his.”[2]


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tender, possessed of a graceful presence, and
deserving of every luxury as thou art, what office wilt thou, O heroic
Nakula, discharge while living in the dominions of that king? Tell me all
about it!’

“Nakula said, ‘Under the name of Granthika, I shall become the keeper of
the horses of king Virata. I have a thorough knowledge (of this work) and
am skilful in tending horses. Besides, the task is agreeable to me, and I
possess great skill in training and treating horses; and horses are ever
dear to me as they are to thee, O king of the Kurus. At my hands even
colts and mares become docile; these never become vicious in bearing a
rider or drawing a car.[3] And those persons in the city of Virata that
may enquire of me, I shall, O bull of the Bharata race, say,--“Formerly I
was employed by Yudhishthira in the charge of his horses.” Thus disguised,
O king, I shall spend my days delightfully in the city of Virata. No one
will be able to discover me as I will gratify the monarch thus!’ [4]

“Yudhishthira said, ‘How wilt thou, O Sahadeva, bear thyself before that
king? And what, O child, is that which thou wilt do in order to live in

“Sahadeva replied, ‘I will become a keeper of the kine of Virata’s king. I
am skilled in milking kine and taking their history as well as in taming
their fierceness. Passing under the name of Tantripal, I shall perform my
duties deftly. Let thy heart’s fever be dispelled. Formerly I was
frequently employed to look after thy kine, and, O Lord of earth, I have
a particular knowledge of that work. And, O monarch, I am well-acquainted
with the nature of kine, as also with their auspicious marks and other
matters relating to them. I can also discriminate bulls with auspicious
marks, the scent of whose urine may make even the barren being forth
child. Even thus will I live, and I always take delight in work of this
kind. Indeed, no one will then be able to recognise me, and I will
moreover gratify the monarch.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘This is our beloved wife dearer to us than our lives.
Verily, she deserveth to be cherished by us like a mother, and regarded
like an elder sister. Unacquainted as she is with any kind of womanly
work, what office will Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, perform?
Delicate and young, she is a princess of great repute. Devoted to her
lords, and eminently virtuous, also, how will she live? Since her birth,
she hath enjoyed only garlands and perfumes and ornaments and costly

“Draupadi replied, ‘There is a class of persons called Sairindhris,[5] who
enter the services of other. Other females, however (that are
respectable) do not do so. Of this class there are some. I shall give
myself out as a Sairindhri, skilled in dressing hair. And, O Bharata, on
being questioned by the king, I shall say that I served as a waiting
woman of Draupadi in Yudhishthira’s household. I shall thus pass my days
in disguise. And I shall serve the famous Sudeshna, the wife of the king.
Surely, obtaining me she will cherish me (duly). Do not grieve so, O

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O Krishna, thou speakest well. But O fair girl, thou
wert born in a respectable family. Chaste as thou art, and always engaged
in observing virtuous vows, thou knowest not what is sin. Do thou,
therefore, conduct thyself in such a way that sinful men of evil hearts
may not be gladdened by gazing at thee.’”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Ye have already said what offices ye will
respectively perform. I also, according to the measure of my sense, have
said what office I will perform. Let our priest, accompanied by
charioteers and cooks, repair to the abode of Drupada, and there maintain
our Agnihotra fires. And let Indrasena and the others, taking with them
the empty cars, speedily proceeded to Dwaravati. Even this is my wish.
And let all these maid-servants of Draupadi go to the Panchalas, with our
charioteers and cooks. And let all of them say,--“We do not know where the
Pandavas have gone leaving us at the lake of Dwaitavana.”’”

Vaisampayana said, “Having thus taken counsel of one another and told one
another the offices they would discharge, the Pandavas sought Dhaumya’s
advice. And Dhaumya also gave them advice in the following words, saying,
‘Ye sons of Pandu, the arrangements ye have made regarding the Brahmanas,
your friends, cars, weapons, and the (sacred) fires, are excellent. But
it behoveth thee, O Yudhishthira, and Arjuna specially, to make provision
for the protection of Draupadi. Ye king, ye are well-acquainted with the
characters of men. Yet whatever may be your knowledge, friends may from
affection be permitted to repeat what is already known. Even this is
subservient to the eternal interests of virtue, pleasure, and profit. I
shall, therefore speak to you something. Mark ye. To dwell with a king
is, alas, difficult. I shall tell you, ye princes, how ye may reside in
the royal household, avoiding every fault. Ye Kauravas, honourably or
otherwise, ye will have to pass this year in the king’s palace,
undiscovered by those that know you. Then in the fourteenth year, ye will
live happy. O son of Pandu, in this world, that cherisher and protector
of all beings, the king, who is a deity in an embodied form, is as a
great fire sanctified with all the mantras. [6] One should present
himself before the king, after having obtained his permission at the
gate. No one should keep contact with royal secrets. Nor should one
desire a seat which another may covet. He who doth not, regarding himself
to be a favourite, occupy (the king’s) car, or coach, or seat, or
vehicle, or elephant, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household.
He that sits not upon a seat the occupation of which is calculated to raise
alarm in the minds of malicious people, is alone worthy of dwelling in a
royal household. No one should unasked offer counsel (to a king). Paying
homage in season unto the king, one should silently and respectfully sit
beside the king, for kings take umbrage at babblers, and disgrace-laying
counsellors. A wise person should not contact friendship with the king’s
wife, nor with the inmates of the inner apartments, nor with those that
are objects of royal displeasure. One about the king should do even the
most unimportant acts and with the king’s knowledge. Behaving thus with a
sovereign, one doth not come by harm. Even if an individual attain the
highest office, he should, as long as he is not asked or commanded,
consider himself as born-blind, having regard to the king’s dignity, for
O repressers of foes, the rulers of men do not forgive even their sons
and grandsons and brothers when they happen to tamper with their dignity.
Kings should be served with regardful care, even as Agni and other gods;
and he that is disloyal to his sovereign, is certainly destroyed by him.
Renouncing anger, and pride, and negligence, it behoveth a man to follow
the course directed by the monarch. After carefully deliberating on all
things, a person should set forth before the king those topics that are
both profitable and pleasant; but should a subject be profitable without
being pleasant, he should still communicate it, despite its
disagreeableness. It behoveth a man to be well-disposed towards the king
in all his interests, and not to indulge in speech that is alike
unpleasant and profitless. Always thinking--“I am not liked by the
king”--one should banish negligence, and be intent on bringing about what
is agreeable and advantageous to him. He that swerveth not from his
place, he that is not friendly to those that are hostile to the king, he
that striveth not to do wrong to the king, is alone worthy to dwell in a
royal household. A learned man should sit either on the king’s right or
the left; he should not sit behind him for that is the place appointed
for armed guards, and to sit before him is always interdicted. Let none,
when the king is engaged in doing anything (in respect of his servants)
come forward pressing himself zealously before others, for even if the
aggrieved be very poor, such conduct would still be inexcusable.[7] It
behoveth no man to reveal to others any lie the king may have told
inasmuch as the king bears ill will to those that report his falsehoods.
Kings also always disregard persons that regard themselves as learned. No
man should be proud thinking--“I am brave, or, I am intelligent,” but a
person obtains the good graces of a king and enjoys the good things of
life, by behaving agreeably to the wishes of the king. And, O Bharata,
obtaining things agreeable, and wealth also which is so hard to acquire,
a person should always do what is profitable as well as pleasant to the
king. What man that is respected by the wise can even think of doing
mischief to one whose ire is a great impediment and whose favour is
productive of mighty fruits? No one should move his lips, arms and
thighs, before the king. A person should speak and spit before the king
only mildly. In the presence of even laughable objects, a man should not
break out into loud laughter, like a maniac; nor should one show
(unreasonable) gravity by containing himself, to the utmost. One should
smile modestly, to show his interest (in what is before him). He that is
ever mindful of the king’s welfare, and is neither exhilarated by reward
nor depressed by disgrace, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal
household. That learned courtier who always pleaseth the king and his son
with agreeable speeches, succeedeth in dwelling in a royal household as a
favourite. The favourite courtier who, having lost the royal favour for
just reason, does not speak evil of the king, regains prosperity. The man
who serveth the king or liveth in his domains, if sagacious, should speak
in praise of the king, both in his presence and absence. The courtier who
attempts to obtain his end by employing force on the king, cannot keep
his place long and incurs also the risk of death. None should, for the
purpose of self-interest, open communications with the king’s enemies.[8]
Nor should one distinguish himself above the king in matters requiring
ability and talents. He that is always cheerful and strong, brave and
truthful, and mild, and of subdued senses, and who followeth his master
like his shadow, is alone worthy to dwell in a royal household. He that
on being entrusted with a work, cometh forward, saying,--“I will do
this”--is alone worthy of living in a royal household. He that on being
entrusted with a task, either within the king’s dominion or out of it,
never feareth to undertake it, is alone fit to reside in a royal
household. He that living away from his home, doth not remember his dear
ones, and who undergoeth (present) misery in expectation of (future)
happiness, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household. One should
not dress like the king, nor should one indulge in laughter in the
king’s presence nor should one disclose royal secrets. By acting thus one
may win royal favour. Commissioned to a task, one should not touch bribes
for by such appropriation one becometh liable to fetters or death. The
robes, ornaments, cars, and other things which the king may be pleased to
bestow should always be used, for by this, one winneth the royal favour.
Ye children, controlling your minds, do ye spend this year, ye sons of
Pandu, behaving in this way. Regaining your own kingdom, ye may live as
ye please.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘We have been well taught by thee. Blessed be thou.
There is none that could say so to us, save our mother Kunti and Vidura
of great wisdom. It behoveth thee to do all that is necessary now for our
departure, and for enabling us to come safely through this woe, as well
as for our victory over the foe.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, Dhaumya, that
best of Brahmanas, performed according to the ordinance the rites
ordained in respect of departure. And lighting up their fires, he
offered, with mantras, oblations on them for the prosperity and success
of the Pandavas, as for their reconquest of the whole world. And walking
round those fires and round the Brahmanas of ascetic wealth, the six set
out, placing Yajnaseni in their front. And when those heroes had
departed, Dhaumya, that best of ascetics, taking their sacred fires, set
out for the Panchalas. And Indrasena, and others already mentioned, went
to the Yadavas, and looking after the horses and the cars of the Pandavas
passed their time happily and in privacy.”


Vaisampayana said, “Girding their waists with swords, and equipped with
finger-protectors made of iguana skins and with various weapons, those
heroes proceeded in the direction of the river Yamuna. And those bowmen
desirous of (speedily) recovering their kingdom, hitherto living in
inaccessible hills and forest fastnesses, now terminated their
forest-life and proceeded to the southern bank of that river. And those
mighty warriors endued with great strength and hitherto leading the lives
of hunters by killing the deer of the forest, passed through Yakrilloma
and Surasena, leaving behind, on their right, the country of the
Panchalas, and on their left, that of the Dasarnas. And those bowmen,
looking wan and wearing beards and equipped with swords, entered Matsya’s
dominions leaving the forest, giving themselves out as hunters. And on
arriving at that country, Krishna addressed Yudhishthira, saying, ‘We see
footpaths here, and various fields. From this it appears that Virata’s
metropolis is still at a distance. Pass we here what part of the night is
still left, for great is my fatigue.’”

“Yudhishthira answered, ‘O Dhananjaya of Bharata’s race, do thou take up
Panchali and carry her. Just on emerging from this forest, we arrive at
the city.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thereupon like the leader of a herd of
elephants, Arjuna speedily took up Draupadi, and on coming to the
vicinity of the city, let her down. And on reaching the city, Ruru’s son
(Yudhishthira), addressed Arjuna, saying, ‘Where shall we deposit our
weapons, before entering the city? If, O child, we enter it with our
weapons about us, we shall thereby surely excite the alarm of the
citizens. Further, the tremendous bow, the Gandiva, is known to all men,
so that people will, without doubt, recognise us soon. And if even one of
us is discovered, we shall, according to promise, have to pass another
twelve years in the forest.’

“Arjuna said, ‘Hard by yon cemetery and near that inaccessible peak is a
mighty Sami tree, throwing-about its gigantic branches and difficult to
ascend. Nor is there any human being, who, I think, O Pandu’s son, will
espy us depositing our arms at that place. That tree is in the midst of
an out-of-the way forest abounding in beasts and snakes, and is in the
vicinity of a dreary cemetery. Stowing away our weapons on the Sami tree,
let us, O Bharata, go to the city, and live there, free from anxiety!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having O bull of the Bharata race spoken thus to
king Yudhishthira the just, Arjuna prepared to deposit the weapons (on
the tree). And that bull among the Kurus, then loosened the string of the
large and dreadful Gandiva, ever producing thundering twang and always
destructive of hostile hosts, and with which he had conquered, on a
single car, gods and men and Nagas and swelling provinces. And the
warlike Yudhishthira, that represser of foes, unfastened the undecaying
string of that bow with which he had defended the field of Kurukshetra.
And the illustrious Bhimasena unstrung that bow by means of which that
sinless one had vanquished in fight the Panchalas and the lord of Sindhu,
and with which, during his career of conquest, he had, single-handed,
opposed innumerable foes, and hearing whose twang which was like unto the
roar of the thunder or the splitting of a mountain, enemies always fly
(in panic) from the field of battle. And that son of Pandu of coppery
complexion and mild speech who is endued with great prowess in the field,
and is called Nakula in consequence of his unexampled beauty in the
family, then unfastened the string of that bow with which he had
conquered all the regions of the west. And the heroic Sahadeva also,
possessed of a mild disposition, then untied the string of that bow with
which he had subjugated the countries of the south. And with their bows,
they put together their long and flashing swords, their precious quivers,
and their arrows sharp as razors. And Nakula ascended the tree, and
deposited on it the bows and the other weapons. And he tied them fast on
those parts of the tree which he thought would not break, and where the
rain would not penetrate. And the Pandavas hung up a corpse (on the
tree), knowing that people smelling the stench of the corpse would
say--‘here sure, is a dead body,’ and avoid the tree from a distance. And
on being asked by the shepherds and cowherds regarding the corpse, those
repressers of foes said unto them, ‘This is our mother, aged one hundred
and eighty years. We have hung up her dead body, in accordance with the
custom observed by our forefathers.’ And then those resisters of foes
approached the city. And for purposes of non-discovery Yudhishthira kept
these (five) names for himself and his brothers respectively, viz., Jaya,
Jayanta, Vijaya, Jayatsena, and Jayatvala. Then they entered the great
city, with the view to passing the thirteenth year undiscovered in that
kingdom, agreeably to the promise (to Duryodhana).”


Vaisampayana said, “And while Yudhishthira was on his way to the
delightful city of Virata, he began to praise mentally the Divine Durga,
the Supreme Goddess of the Universe, born on the womb of Yasoda, and fond
of the boons bestowed on her by Narayana, sprung from the race of cowherd
Nanda, and the giver of prosperity, the enhancer (of the glory) of (the
worshipper’s) family, the terrifier of Kansa, and the destroyer of
Asuras,--and saluted the Goddess--her who ascended the skies when dashed
(by Kansa) on a stony platform, who is the sister of Vasudeva, one who is
always decked in celestial garlands and attired in celestial robes,--who
is armed with scimitar and shield, and always rescues the worshipper sunk
in sin, like a cow in the mire, who in the hours of distress calls upon
that eternal giver of blessings for relieving him of their burdens. And
the king, desirous with his brothers of obtaining a sight of the Goddess,
invoked her and began to praise her by reciting various names derived
from (approved) hymns. And Yudhishthira said, ‘Salutations to thee, O
giver of boons. O thou that art identical with Krishna, O maiden, O thou
that hast observed the vow of Brahmacharya, O thou of body bright as the
newly-risen Sun, O thou of face beautiful as the full moon. Salutations to
thee, O thou of four hands and four faces, O thou of fair round hips and
deep bosom, O thou that wearest bangles made of emeralds and sapphires, O
thou that bearest excellent bracelets on thy upper arm. Thou shinest, O
Goddess, as Padma, the consort of Narayana. O thou that rangest the
etherial regions, thy true form and thy Brahmacharya are both of the
purest kind. Sable as the black clouds, thy face is beautiful as that of
Sankarshana. Thou bearest two large arms long as a couple of poles raised
in honour of Indra. In thy (six) other arms thou bearest a vessel, a
lotus, a bell, a noose, a bow, a large discus, and various other weapons.
Thou art the only female in the universe that possessest the attribute of
purity. Thou art decked with a pair of well-made ears graced with
excellent rings. O Goddess, thou shinest with a face that challengeth the
moon in beauty. With an excellent diadem and beautiful braid with robes
made of the bodies of snakes, and with also the brilliant girdle round
thy hips, thou shinest like the Mandara mountain encircled with snakes.
Thou shinest also with peacock-plumes standing erect on thy head, and
thou hast sanctified the celestial regions by adopting the vow of
perpetual maiden-hood. It is for this, O thou that hast slain the
Mahishasura, [9] that thou art praised and worshipped by the gods for the
protection of the three worlds. O thou foremost of all deities, extend to
me thy grace, show me thy mercy, and be thou the source of blessings to
me. Thou art Jaya and Vijaya, and it is thou that givest victory in
battle. Grant me victory, O Goddess, and give me boons also at this hour
of distress. Thy eternal abode is on Vindhya--that foremost of mountains.
O Kali, O Kali, thou art the great Kali, ever fond of wine and meat and
animal sacrifice. Capable of going everywhere at will, and bestowing
boons on thy devotees, thou art ever followed in thy journeys by Brahma
and the other gods. By them that call upon thee for the relief of their
burdens, and by them also that bow to thee at daybreak on Earth, there is
nothing that cannot be attained in respect either of offspring or wealth.
And because thou rescuest people from difficulties whether when they are
afflicted in the wilderness or sinking in the great ocean, it is for this
that thou art called Durga[10] by all. Thou art the sole refuge of men
when attacked by robbers or while afflicted in crossing streams and seas
or in wilderness and forests. Those men that remember thee are never
prostrated, O great Goddess. Thou art Fame, thou art Prosperity, thou art
Steadiness, thou art Success; thou art the Wife, thou art men’s
Offspring, thou art Knowledge, and thou art the Intellect. Thou art the
two Twilights, the Night Sleep, Light--both solar and lunar, Beauty,
Forgiveness, Mercy, and every other thing. Thou dispellest, worshipped by
the devotees their fetters, ignorance, loss of children and loss of
wealth, disease, death, and fear. I, who have been deprived of my
kingdom, seek thy protection. And as I bow to thee with bended head, O
Supreme Goddess, grant me protection, O thou of eyes like lotus leaves.
And be thou as boon-giving Truth unto us that are acting according to
Truth. And, O Durga, kind as thou art unto all that seek thy protection,
and affectionate unto all thy devotees, grant me protection!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus praised by the son of Pandu, the Goddess
showed herself unto him. And approaching the king, she addressed him in
these words, ‘O mighty armed king, listen, O Lord, to these words of
mine. Having vanquished and slain the ranks of the Kauravas through my
grace, victory in battle will soon be thine. Thou shalt again lord it
over the entire Earth, having made thy dominions destitute of thorns.
And, O king, thou shalt also, with thy brothers, obtain great happiness.
And through my grace, joy and health will be thine. And they also in the
world who will recite my attributes and achievements will be freed from
their sins, and gratified. I will bestow upon them kingdom, long life,
beauty of person, and offspring. And they, O king, who will invoke me,
after thy manner, in exile or in the city, in the midst of battle or of
dangers from foes, in forests or in inaccessible deserts, in seas or
mountain fastnesses, there is nothing that they will not obtain in this
world. And ye sons of Pandu, he will achieve success in every business of
his that will listen to, or himself recite with devotion, this excellent
hymn. And through my grace neither the Kuru’s spies, nor those that dwell
in the country of the Matsyas, will succeed in recognising you all as
long as ye reside in Virata’s city!’ And having said these words unto
Yudhishthira, that chastiser of foes, and having arranged for the
protection of the sons of Pandu, the Goddess disappeared there and then.”


Vaisampayana said, “Then tying up in his cloth dice made of gold and set
with lapis lazuli, and holding them below his arm-pit, king
Yudhishthira,--that illustrious lord of men--that high-souled perpetuator
of the Kuru race, regarded by kings, irrepressible in might, and like
unto a snake of virulent poison,--that bull among men, endued with
strength and beauty and prowess, and possessed of greatness, and
resembling in form a celestial though now like unto the sun enveloped in
dense clouds, or fire covered with ashes, first made his appearance when
the famous king Virata was seated in his court. And beholding with his
followers that son of Pandu in his court, looking like the moon hid in
clouds and possessed of a face beautiful as the full moon, king Virata
addressed his counsellors and the twice-born ones and the charioteers and
the Vaisyas and others, saying, ‘Enquire ye who it is, so like a king
that looketh on my court for the first time. He cannot be a Brahmana.
Methinks he is a man of men, and a lord of earth. He hath neither slaves,
nor cars, nor elephants with him, yet he shineth like the very Indra. The
marks on his person indicate him to be one whose coronal locks have
undergone the sacred investiture. Even this is my belief. He approacheth
me without any hesitation, even as an elephant in rut approacheth an
assemblage of lotuses!’

“And as the king was indulging in these thoughts, that bull among men,
Yudhishthira, came before Virata and addressed him, saying, ‘O great
king, know me for a Brahmana who, having lost his all hath come to thee
for the means of subsistence. I desire, O sinless one, to live here
beside thee acting under thy commands,[11] O lord.’ The king then,
well-pleased, replied unto him saying, ‘Thou art welcome. Do thou then
accept the appointment thou seekest!’ And having appointed the lion among
kings in the post he had prayed for, king Virata addressed him with a
glad heart, saying, ‘O child, I ask thee from affection, from the
dominions of what king dost thou come hither? Tell me also truly what is
thy name and family, and what thou hast a knowledge of.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘My name is Kanka, and I am a Brahmana belonging to
the family known by the name of Vaiyaghra. I am skilled in casting dice,
and formerly I was a friend of Yudhishthira.’

“Virata replied, ‘I will grant thee whatever boon thou mayst desire. Do
thou rule the Matsyas.--I shall remain in submission to thee. Even
cunning gamblers are liked by me. Thou, on the other hand, art like a
god, and deservest a kingdom.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘My first prayer, O lord of earth, is that I may not
be involved in any dispute (on account of dice) with low people. Further,
a person defeated by me (at dice) shall not be permitted to retain the
wealth (won by me). Let this boon be granted to me through thy grace.’

“Virata replied, ‘I shall certainly slay him who may happen to displease
thee, and should he be one of the twice-born ones, I shall banish him from
my dominions. Let the assembled subjects listen! Kanka is as much lord of
this realm as I myself. Thou (Kanka) shalt be my friend and shalt ride
the same vehicles as I. And there shall also be at thy disposal apparel
in plenty, and various kinds of viands and drinks. And thou shalt look
into my affairs, both internal and external. And for thee all my doors
shall be open. When men out of employ or of strained circumstances will
apply to thee, do thou at all hours bring their words unto me, and I will
surely give them whatever they desire. No fear shall be thine as long as
thou residest with me.’”

Vaisampayana said, “Having thus obtained an interview with Virata’s king,
and received from him boons, that heroic bull among men, began to live
happily, highly regarded by all. Nor could any one discover him as he
lived there.”


Vaisampayana said, “Then another endued with the dreadful strength and
blazing in beauty, approached king Virata, with the playful gait of the
lion. And holding in hand a cooking ladle and a spoon, as also an
unsheathed sword of sable hue and without a spot on the blade, he came in
the guise of a cook illumining all around him by his splendour like the
sun discovering the whole world. And attired in black and possessed of
the strength of the king of mountains, he approached the king of the
Matsyas and stood before him. And beholding that king-like person before
him, Virata addressed his assembled subjects saying, ‘Who is that youth,
that bull among men, with shoulders broad like those of a lion, and so
exceedingly beautiful? That person, never seen before, is like the sun.
Revolving the matter in my mind, I cannot ascertain who he is, nor can I
with even serious thoughts guess the intention of that bull among men (in
coming here). Beholding him, it seems to me that he is either the king of
the Gandharvas, or Purandara himself. Do ye ascertain who it is that
standeth before my eyes. Let him have quickly what he seeks.’ Thus
commanded by king Virata, his swift-footed messengers went up to the son
of Kunti and informed that younger brother of Yudhishthira of everything
the king had said. Then the high-souled son of Pandu, approaching Virata,
addressed him in words that were not unsuited to his object, saying, ‘O
foremost of kings, I am a cook, Vallava by name. I am skilled in dressing
dishes. Do thou employ me in the kitchen!’

“Virata said, ‘I do not believe, O Vallava, that cooking is thy office.
Thou resemblest the deity of a thousand eyes; and in grace and beauty and
prowess, thou shinest among these all as a king!’

“Bhima replied, ‘O king of kings, I am thy cook and servant in the first
place. It is not curries only of which I have knowledge, O monarch,
although king Yudhishthira always used in days gone by to taste my
dishes. O lord of earth, I am also a wrestler. Nor is there one that is
equal to me in strength. And engaging in fight with lions and elephants,
I shall, O sinless one, always contribute to thy entertainment.’

“Virata said, ‘I will even grant thee boons. Thou wilt do what thou
wishest, as thou describest thyself skilled in it. I do not, however,
think, that this office is worthy of thee, for thou deservest this
(entire) earth girt round by the sea. But do as thou likest. Be thou the
superintendent of my kitchen, and thou art placed at the head of those
who have been appointed there before by me.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus appointed in the kitchen, Bhima soon became
the favourite of king Virata. And, O king, he continued to live there
unrecognised by the other servants of Virata as also by other people!”


Vaisampayana said, “Binding her black, soft, fine, long and faultless
tresses with crisped ends into a knotted braid, Draupadi of black eyes
and sweet smiles, throwing it upon her right shoulders, concealed it by
her cloth. And she wore a single piece of a black and dirty though costly
cloth. And dressing herself as a Sairindhri, she began to wander hither
and thither in seeming affliction. And beholding her wandering, men and
women came to her hastily and addressed her, saying, ‘Who are you? And
what do you seek?’ And she replied, ‘I am a king’s Sairindhri. I desire
to serve any one that will maintain me.’ But beholding her beauty and
dress, and hearing also her speech that was so sweet, the people could
not take her for a maid-servant in search of subsistence. And it came to
pass that while looking this way and that from the terrace, Virata’s
beloved queen, daughter of the king of Kekaya, saw Draupadi. And
beholding her forlorn and clad in a single piece of cloth, the queen
addressed her saying, ‘O beautiful one, who are you, and what do you
seek?’ Thereupon, Draupadi answered her, saying, ‘O foremost of queens, I
am Sairindhri. I will serve anybody that will maintain me.’ Then Sudeshna
said, ‘What you say (regarding your profession) can never be compatible
with so much beauty. (On the contrary) you might well be the mistress of
servants both male and female. Your heels are not prominent, and your
thighs touch each other. And your intelligence is great, and your navel
deep, and your words solemn. And your great toes, and bust and hips, and
back and sides, and toe-nails, and palms are all well-developed. And your
palms, soles, and face are ruddy. And your speech is sweet even as the
voice of the swan. And your hair is beautiful, and your bust shapely, and
you are possessed of the highest grace. And your hips and bust are plump.
And like a Kashmerean mare you are furnished with every auspicious mark.
And your eye-lashes are (beautiful) bent, and your nether-lip is like the
ruddy ground. And your waist is slender, and your neck bears lines that
resemble those of the conch. And your veins are scarcely visible. Indeed,
your countenance is like the full moon, and your eyes resemble the leaves
of the autumnal lotus, and your body is fragrant as the lotus itself.
Verily, in beauty you resemble Sri herself, whose seat is the autumnal
lotus. Tell me, O beautiful damsel, who thou art. Thou canst never be a
maidservant. Art thou a Yakshi, a Goddess, a Gandharvi, or an Apsara? Art
thou the daughter of a celestial, or art thou a female Naga? Art thou the
guardian goddess of some city, a Vidyadhari, or a Kinnari,--or art thou
Rohini herself? Or art thou Alamvusha, or Misrakesi, Pundarika, or
Malini, or the queen of Indra, or of Varuna? Or, art thou the spouse of
Viswakarma, or of the creative Lord himself? Of these goddesses who art
renowned in the celestial regions, who art thou, O graceful one?’

“Draupadi replied, ‘O auspicious lady, I am neither a goddess nor a
Gandharvi, nor a Yakshi, nor a Rakshasi. I am a maid-servant of the
Sairindhri class. I tell thee this truly. I know to dress the hair, to
pound (fragrant substances) for preparing unguents, and also to make
beautiful and variegated garlands, O beauteous lady, of jasmines and
lotuses and blue lilies and Champakas. Formerly I served Krishna’s
favourite queen Satyabhama, and also Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas
and the foremost beauty of the Kuru race. I wander about alone, earning
good food and dress; and as long as I get these, I continue to live in
the place where they are obtainable. Draupadi herself called me Malini
(maker of garlands).’

“Hearing this, Sudeshna said, ‘I would keep thee upon my head itself, if
the doubt did not cross my mind that the king himself would be attracted
towards thee with his whole heart. Attracted by thy beauty, the females
of the royal household and my maids are looking at thee. What male person
then is there that can resist thy attraction? Surely, O thou of
well-rounded hips, O damsel of exquisite charms, beholding thy form of
superhuman beauty, king Virata is sure to forsake me, and will turn to
thee with his whole heart. O thou of faultless limbs, O thou that art
endued with large eyes casting quick glances, he upon whom thou wilt look
with desire is sure to be stricken. O thou of sweet smiles, O thou that
possessest a faultless form, he that will behold thee constantly, will
surely catch the flame. Even as a person that climbs up a tree for
compassing his own destruction, even as the crab conceives for her own
ruin, I may, O thou of sweet smiles, bring destruction upon myself by
harbouring thee.’

“Draupadi replied, ‘O fair lady, neither Virata nor any other person will
be able to have me, for my five youthful husbands, who are Gandharvas and
sons of a Gandharva king of exceeding power, always protect me. None can
do me a wrong. It is the wish of my Gandharva husbands that I should
serve only such persons as will not give me to touch food already
partaken of by another, or tell me to wash their feet. Any man that
attempts to have me like any common woman, meeteth with death that very
night. No one can succeed in having me, for, O beautiful lady, O thou of
sweet smiles, those beloved Gandharvas, possessed of great energy and
mighty strength always protect me secretly.’

“Sudeshna said, ‘O thou that bringest delight to the heart, if it is as
thou sayest, I will take thee into my household. Thou shalt not have to
touch food that hath been partaken of by another, or to wash another’s

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Virata’s wife, O Janamejaya,
Krishna (Draupadi) ever devoted to her lords, began to live in that city.
Nor could anyone ascertain who in reality she was!”


Vaisampayana said, “Then clad in a cowherd’s dress, and speaking the
dialect of cowherds, Sahadeva came to the cowpen of Virata’s city. And
beholding that bull among men, who was shining in splendour, the king was
struck with amazement. And he directed his men to summon Sahadeva. And
when the latter came, the king addressed him, saying, ‘To whom dost thou
belong? And whence dost thou come? And what work dost thou seek? I have
never seen thee before. O bull among men, tell me truly about thee.’

“Having come before the king that afflicter of foes, Sahadeva answered in
accents deep as the roar of the cloud, ‘I am a Vaisya, Arishtanemi by
name. I was employed as a cowherd in the service of those bulls of the
Kuru race, the sons of Pandu. O foremost of men, I intend now to live
beside thee, for I do not know where those lions among kings, the sons of
Pritha, are. I cannot live without service, and, O king, I do not like to
enter into the service of anyone else save thee.’

“Hearing these words, Virata said, ‘Thou must either be a Brahmana or a
Kshatriya. Thou lookest as if thou wert the lord of the entire earth
surrounded by the sea. Tell me truly, O thou that mowest down thy foes.
The office of a Vaisya is not fit for thee. Tell me from the dominions of
what king thou comest, and what thou knowest, and in what capacity thou
wouldst remain with us, and also what pay thou wouldst accept.’

“Sahadeva answered, ‘Yudhishthira, the eldest of the five sons of Pandu,
had one division of kine numbering eight hundred and ten thousand, and
another, ten thousand, and another, again, twenty thousand, and so on. I
was employed in keeping those cattle. People used to call me Tantripala.
I know the present, the past, and the future of all kine living within
ten Yojanas, and whose tale has been taken. My merits were known to that
illustrious one, and the Kuru king Yudhishthira was well-pleased with me.
I am also acquainted with the means which aid kine in multiplying within
a short time, and by which they may enjoy immunity from disease. Also
these arts are known to me. I can also single out bulls having auspicious
marks for which they are worshipped by men, and by smelling whose urine,
the barren may conceive.’

“Virata said, ‘I have a hundred thousand kine divided into distinct
herds. All those together with their keepers, I place in thy charge.
Henceforth my beasts will be in thy keep.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then, O king, undiscovered by that monarch,
that lord of men, Sahadeva, maintained by Virata, began to live happily.
Nor did anyone else (besides his brothers) recognise him.”


Vaisampayana said, “Next appeared at the gate of the ramparts another
person of enormous size and exquisite beauty decked in the ornaments of
women, and wearing large ear-rings and beautiful conch-bracelets overlaid
with gold. And that mighty-armed individual with long and abundant hair
floating about his neck, resembled an elephant in gait. And shaking the
very earth with his tread, he approached Virata and stood in his court.
And beholding the son of the great Indra, shining with exquisite lustre
and having the gait of a mighty elephant,--that grinder of foes having
his true form concealed in disguise, entering the council-hall and
advancing towards the monarch, the king addressed all his courtiers,
saying, ‘Whence doth this person come? I have never heard of him before.’
And when the men present spoke of the newcomer as one unknown to them,
the king wonderingly said, ‘Possessed of great strength, thou art like
unto a celestial, and young and of darkish hue, thou resemblest the
leader of a herd of elephants. Wearing conch-bracelets overlaid with
gold, a braid, and ear-rings, thou shinest yet like one amongst those
that riding on chariots wander about equipped with mail and bow and
arrows and decked with garlands and fine hair. I am old and desirous of
relinquishing my burden. Be thou like my son, or rule thou like myself
all the Matsyas. It seemeth to me that such a person as thou can never be
of the neuter sex.’

“Arjuna said, ‘I sing, dance, and play on instruments. I am proficient in
dance and skilled in song. O lord of men, assign me unto (the princess)
Uttara. I shall be dancing-master to the royal maiden. As to how I have
come by this form, what will it avail thee to hear the account which will
only augment my pain? Know me, O king of men, to be Vrihannala, a son or
daughter without father or mother.’

“Virata said, ‘O Vrihannala, I give thee what thou desirest. Instruct my
daughter, and those like her, in dancing. To me, however, this office
seemeth unworthy of thee. Thou deservest (the dominion of) the entire
earth girt round by the ocean.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “The king of the Matsyas then tested Vrihannala
in dancing, music, and other fine arts, and consulting with his various
ministers forthwith caused him to be examined by women. And learning that
this impotency was of a permanent nature, he sent him to the maiden’s
apartments. And there the mighty Arjuna began giving lessons in singing
and instrumental music to the daughter of Virata, her friends, and her
waiting-maids, and soon won their good graces. And in this manner the
self-possessed Arjuna lived there in disguise, partaking of pleasures in
their company, and unknown to the people within or without the palace.”


Vaisampayana said, “After a while, another powerful son of Pandu was
seen making towards king Virata in haste. And as he advanced, he seemed
to everyone like solar orb emerged from the clouds. And he began to
observe the horses around. And seeing this, the king of the Matsyas said
to his followers, ‘I wonder whence this man, possessed of the effulgence
of a celestial, cometh. He looks intently at my steeds. Verily, he must
be proficient in horse-lore. Let him be ushered into my presence quickly.
He is a warrior and looks like a god!’ And that destroyer of foes then
went up to the king and accosted him, saying, ‘Victory to thee, O king,
and blest be ye. As a trainer of horses, I have always been highly
esteemed by kings. I will be a clever keeper of thy horses.’

“Virata said, ‘I will give thee vehicles, wealth, and spacious quarters.
Thou shalt be the manager of my horses. But first tell me whence thou
comest, who thou art, and how also thou happenest to come here. Tell us
also all the arts thou art master of.’ Nakula replied, ‘O mower of
enemies, know that Yudhishthira is the eldest brother of the five sons of
Pandu. I was formerly employed by him to keep his horses. I am acquainted
with the temper of steeds, and know perfectly the art of breaking them. I
know also how to correct vicious horses, and all the methods of treating
their diseases. No animal in my hands becometh weak or ill. Not to speak
of horses, even mares in my hands will never be found to be vicious.
People called me Granthika by name and so did Yudhishthira, the son of

“Virata said, ‘Whatever horses I have, I consign to thy care even from
today. And all the keepers of my horses and all my charioteers will from
today be subordinate to thee. If this suits thee, say what remuneration
is desired by thee. But, O thou that resemblest a celestial, the office
of equerry is not worthy of thee. For thou lookest like a king and I
esteem thee much. Thy appearance here hath pleased me as much as if
Yudhishthira himself were here. Oh, how does that blameless son of Pandu
dwell and divert himself in the forest, now destitute of servants as he

Vaisampayana continued, “That youth, like unto a chief of the
Gandharvas, was treated thus respectfully by the delighted king Virata.
And he conducted himself there in such a manner as to make himself dear
and agreeable to all in the palace. And no one recognised him while
living under Virata’s protection. And it was in this manner then the sons
of Pandu, the very sight of whom had never been fruitless, continued to
live in the country of the Matsyas. And true to their pledge those lords
of the earth bounded by her belt of seas passed their days of incognito
with great composure notwithstanding their poignant sufferings.”


(Samayapalana Parva)

Janamejaya said, “While living thus disguised in the city of the
Matsyas, what did those descendants of the Kuru race endued with great
prowess, do, O regenerate one!”

Vaisampayana said, “Hear, O king, what those descendants of Kuru did
while they dwelt thus in disguise in the city of the Matsyas, worshipping
the king thereof. By the grace of the sage Trinavindu and of the
high-souled lord of justice, the Pandavas continued to live unrecognised
by others in the city of Virata. O lord of men, Yudhishthira, as courtier
made himself agreeable to Virata and his sons as also to all the Matsyas.
An adept in the mysteries of dice, the son of Pandu caused them to play
at dice according to his pleasure and made them sit together in the
dice-hall like a row of birds bound in a string. And that tiger among
men, king Yudhishthira the Just, unknown to the monarch, distributed
among his brothers, in due proportion, the wealth he won from Virata. And
Bhimasena on his part, sold to Yudhishthira for price, meat and viands of
various kinds which he obtained from the king. And Arjuna distributed
among all his brothers the proceeds of worn-out cloths which he earned in
the inner apartments of the palace. And Sahadeva, too, who was disguised
as a cowherd gave milk, curds and clarified butter to his brothers. And
Nakula also shared with his brothers the wealth the king gave him,
satisfied with his management of the horses. And Draupadi, herself in a
pitiable condition, looked after all those brothers and behaved in such a
way as to remain unrecognized. And thus ministering unto one another’s
wants, those mighty warriors lived in the capital of Virata as hidden
from view, as if they were once more in their mother’s womb. And those
lords of men, the sons of Pandu, apprehensive of danger from the son of
Dhritarashtra, continued to dwell there in concealment, watching over
their wife Draupadi. And after three months had passed away, in the
fourth, the grand festival in honour of the divine Brahma which was
celebrated with pomp in the country of the Matsyas, came off. And there
came athletes from all quarters by thousands, like hosts of celestials to
the abode of Brahma or of Siva to witness that festival. And they were
endued with huge bodies and great prowess, like the demons called
Kalakhanjas. And elated with their prowess and proud of their strength,
they were highly honoured by the king. And their shoulders and waists and
necks were like those of lions, and their bodies were very clean, and
their hearts were quite at ease. And they had many a time won success in
the lists in the presence of kings. And amongst them there was one who
towered above the rest and challenged them all to a combat. And there was
none that dared to approach him as he proudly stalked in the arena. And
when all the athletes stood sad and dispirited, the king of the Matsyas
made him fight with his cook. And urged by the king, Bhima made up his
mind reluctantly, for he could not openly disobey the royal behest. And
that tiger among men then having worshipped the king, entered the
spacious arena, pacing with the careless steps of a tiger. And the son of
Kunti then girded up his loins to the great delight of the spectators.
And Bhima then summoned to the combat that athlete known by the name of
Jimuta who was like unto the Asura Vritra whose prowess was widely known.
And both of them were possessed of great courage, and both were endued
with terrible prowess. And they were like a couple of infuriate and
huge-bodied elephants, each sixty years old. And those brave tigers among
men then cheerfully engaged in a wrestling combat, desirous of
vanquishing each other. And terrible was the encounter that took place
between them, like the clash of the thunderbolt against the stony
mountain-breast. And both of them were exceedingly powerful and extremely
delighted at each other’s strength. And desirous of vanquishing each
other, each stood eager to take advantage of his adversary’s lapse. And
both were greatly delighted and both looked like infuriate elephants of
prodigious size. And various were the modes of attack and defence that
they exhibited with their clenched fists.[12] And each dashed against the
other and flung his adversary to a distance. And each cast the other down
and pressed him close to the ground. And each got up again and squeezed
the other in his arms. And each threw the other violently off his place
by boxing him on the breast. And each caught the other by the legs and
whirling him round threw him down on the ground. And they slapped each
other with their palms that struck as hard as the thunderbolt. And they
also struck each other with their outstretched fingers, and stretching
them out like spears thrust the nails into each other’s body. And they
gave each other violent kicks. And they struck knee and head against
head, producing the crash of one stone against another. And in this
manner that furious combat between those warriors raged on without
weapons, sustained mainly by the power of their arms and their physical
and mental energy, to the infinite delight of the concourse of
spectators. And all people, O king, took deep interest in that encounter
of those powerful wrestlers who fought like Indra and the Asura Vritra.
And they cheered both of them with loud acclamations of applause. And the
broad-chested and long-armed experts in wrestling then pulled and pressed
and whirled and hurled down each other and struck each other with their
knees, expressing all the while their scorn for each other in loud
voices. And they began to fight with their bare arms in this way, which
were like spiked maces of iron. And at last the powerful and mighty-armed
Bhima, the slayer of his foes, shouting aloud seized the vociferous
athlete by the arms even as the lion seizes the elephant, and taking him
up from the ground and holding him aloft, began to whirl him round, to
the great astonishment of the assembled athletes and the people of
Matsya. And having whirled him round and round a hundred times till he
was insensible, the strong-armed Vrikodara dashed him to death on the
ground. And when the brave and renowned Jimuta was thus killed, Virata
and his friends were filled with great delight. And in the exuberance of
his joy, the noble-minded king rewarded Vallava then and there with the
liberality of Kuvera. And killing numerous athletes and many other men
possessed of great bodily strength, he pleased the king very much. And
when no one could be found there to encounter him in the lists, the king
made him fight with tigers and lions and elephants. And the king also
made him battle with furious and powerful lions in the harem for the
pleasure of the ladies. And Arjuna, too, pleased the king and all the
ladies of the inner apartments by singing and dancing. And Nakula pleased
Virata, that best of kings, by showing him fleet and well-trained steeds
that followed him wherever he went. And the king, gratified with him,
rewarded him with ample presents. And beholding around Sahadeva a herd of
well-trained bullocks, Virata that bull among men, bestowed upon him also
wealth of diverse kinds. And, O king, Draupadi distressed to see all
those warriors suffer pain, sighed incessantly. And it was in this way
that those eminent persons lived there in disguise, rendering services
unto king Virata.”


(Kichaka-badha Parva)

Vaisampayana said, “Living in such disguise, those mighty warriors, the
sons of Pritha, passed ten months in Matsya’s city. And, O monarch,
although herself deserving to be waited upon by others, the daughter of
Yajnasena, O Janamejaya, passed her days in extreme misery, waiting upon
Sudeshna. And residing thus in Sudeshna’s apartments, the princess of
Panchala pleased that lady as also the other females of the inner
apartments. And it came to pass that as the year was about to expire, the
redoubtable Kichaka, the Commander of Virata’s forces, chanced to behold
the daughter of Drupada. And beholding that lady endued with the
splendour of a daughter of the celestials, treading the earth like a
goddess, Kichaka, afflicted with the shafts of Kama, desired to possess
her. And burning with desire’s flame, Virata’s general came to Sudeshna
(his sister) and smilingly addressed her in these words, ‘This beauteous
lady had never before been seen by me in king Virata’s abode. This damsel
maddens me with her beauty, even as a new wine maddens one with its
fragrance. Tell me, who is this graceful and captivating lady possessed
of the beauty of a goddess, and whose she is, and whence she hath come.
Surely, grinding my heart she hath reduced me to subjection. It seems to
me that (save her) there is no other medicine for my illness. O, this
fair hand-maid of thine seemeth to me to be possessed of the beauty of a
goddess. Surely, one like her is ill suited to serve thee. Let her rule
over me and whatever is mine. O, let her grace my spacious and beautiful
palace, decked with various ornaments of gold, full of viands and drinks
in profusion, with excellent plates, and containing every kind of plenty,
besides elephants and horses and cars in myriads.’ And having consulted
with Sudeshna thus, Kichaka went to princess Draupadi, and like a jackal
in the forest accosting a lioness, spoke unto Krishna these words in a
winning voice, ‘Who and whose art thou, O beautiful one? And O thou of
beautiful face, whence hast thou come to the city of Virata? Tell me all
this, O fair lady. Thy beauty and gracefulness are of the very first
order and the comeliness of thy features is unparalleled. With its
loveliness thy face shineth ever like the resplendent moon. O thou of
fair eye-brows, thy eyes are beautiful and large like lotus-petals. Thy
speech also, O thou of beautiful limbs, resembles the notes of the
cuckoo. O thou of fair hips, never before in this world have I beheld a
woman possessed of beauty like thine, O thou of faultless features. Art
thou Lakshmi herself having her abode in the midst of lotuses or, art
thou, O slender-waisted one, she who is called Bhuti[13]. Or, which
amongst these--Hri, Sri, Kirti and Kanti,--art thou, O thou of beautiful
face? Or possessed of beauty like Rati’s, art thou, she who sporteth in
the embraces of the God of love? O thou that possessest the fairest of
eye-brows, thou shinest beautifully even like the lovely light of the
moon. Who is there in the whole world that will not succumb to the
influence of desire beholding thy face? Endued with unrivalled beauty and
celestial grace of the most attractive kind, that face of thine is even
like the full moon, its celestial effulgence resembling his radiant face,
its smile resembling his soft-light, and its eye-lashes looking like the
spokes on his disc? Both thy bosoms, so beautiful and well-developed and
endued with unrivalled gracefulness and deep and well-rounded and without
any space between them, are certainly worthy of being decked with
garlands of gold. Resembling in shape the beautiful buds of the lotus,
these thy breast, O thou of fair eye-brows, are even as the whips of Kama
that are urging me forward, O thou of sweet smiles. O damsel of slender
waist, beholding that waist of thine marked with four wrinkles and
measuring but a span, and slightly stooping forward because of the weight
of thy breasts, and also looking on those graceful hips of thine broad as
the banks of a river, the incurable fever of desire, O beauteous lady,
afflicteth me sore. The flaming fire of desire, fierce as a forest
conflagration, and fanned by the hope my heart cherisheth of a union with
thee is consuming me intensely. O thou of exceeding beauty quench thou
that flaming fire kindled by Manmatha. Union with thee is a rain-charged
cloud, and the surrender of thy person is the shower that the cloud may
drop. O thou of face resembling the moon, the fierce and maddening shafts
of Manmatha whetted and sharpened by the desire of a union with thee,
piercing this heart of mine in their impetuous course, have penetrated
into its core. O black-eyed lady, those impetuous and cruel shafts are
maddening me beyond endurance. It behoveth thee to relieve me from this
plight by surrendering thyself to me and favouring me with thy embraces.
Decked in beautiful garlands and robes and adorned with every ornament,
sport thou, O sweet damsel, with me to thy fill. O thou of the gait of an
elephant in rut, deserving as thou art of happiness though deprived of it
now, it behoveth thee not to dwell here in misery. Let unrivalled weal be
thine. Drinking various kinds of charming and delicious and ambrosial
wines, and sporting at thy pleasure in the enjoyment of diverse objects
of delight, do thou, O blessed lady, attain auspicious prosperity. This
beauty of thine and this prime of thy youth, O sweet lady, are now
without their use. For, O beauteous and chaste damsel, endued with such
loveliness, thou dost not shine, like a graceful garland lying unused and
unworn. I will forsake all my old wives. Let them, O thou of sweet
smiles, become thy slaves. And I also, O fair damsel, will stay by thee
as thy slave, ever obedient to thee, O thou of the most handsome face.’
Hearing these words of his, Draupadi replied, ‘In desiring me, a female
servant of low extraction, employed in the despicable office of dressing
hair, O Suta’s son, thou desirest one that deserves not that honour.
Then, again, I am the wife of others. Therefore, good betide thee, this
conduct of thine is not proper. Do thou remember the precept of morality,
viz., that persons should take delight only in their wedded wives. Thou
shouldst not, therefore, by any means bend thy heart to adultery. Surely
abstaining from improper acts is ever the study of those that are good.
Overcome by ignorance sinful men under the influence of desire come by
either extreme infamy or dreadful calamity.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by the Sairindhri, the wicked
Kichaka losing control over his senses and overcome by lust, although
aware of the numerous evils of fornication, evils condemned by everybody
and sometimes leading to the destruction of life itself,--then spoke unto
Draupadi, ‘It behoveth thee not, O beauteous lady, O thou of graceful
features, thus to disregard me who am, O thou of sweet smiles, under the
power of Manmatha on thy account. If now, O timid one, thou disregardest
me who am under thy influence and who speak to thee so fair, thou wilt, O
black-eyed damsel, have to repent for it afterwards. O thou of graceful
eye-brows, the real lord of this entire kingdom, O slender-waisted lady,
is myself. It is me depending upon whom the people of this realm live. In
energy and prowess I am unrivalled on earth. There is no other man on
earth who rivals me in beauty of person, in youth, in prosperity, and in
the possession of excellent objects of enjoyment. Why it is, O auspicious
lady, that having it in thy power to enjoy here every object of desire
and every luxury and comfort without its equal, thou preferest servitude.
Becoming the mistress of this kingdom which I shall confer on thee, O
thou of fair face, accept me, and enjoy, O beauteous one, all excellent
objects of desire.’ Addressed in these accursed words by Kichaka, that
chaste daughter of Drupada answered him thus reprovingly, ‘Do not, O son
of a Suta, act so foolishly and do not throw away thy life. Know that I
am protected by my five husbands. Thou canst not have me. I have
Gandharvas for my husbands. Enraged they will slay thee. Therefore, do
thou not bring destruction on thyself. Thou intendest to tread along a
path that is incapable of being trod by men. Thou, O wicked one, art even
like a foolish child that standing on one shore of the ocean intends to
cross over to the other. Even if thou enterest into the interior of the
earth, or soarest into the sky, or rushest to the other shore of the
ocean, still thou wilt have no escape from the hands of those sky-ranging
offspring of gods, capable of grinding all foes. Why dost thou today, O
Kichaka, solicit me so persistently even as a sick person wisheth for the
night that will put a stop to his existence? Why dost thou desire me,
even like an infant lying on its mother’s lap wishing to catch the moon?
For thee that thus solicitest their beloved wife, there is no refuge
either on earth or in sky. O Kichaka, hast thou no sense which leads thee
to seek thy good and by which thy life may be saved?’”


Vaisampayana said, “Rejected thus by the princess, Kichaka, afflicted
with maddening lust and forgetting all sense of propriety, addressed
Sudeshna saying, ‘Do thou, Kekaya’s daughter, so act that thy Sairindhri
may come into my arms. Do thou, O Sudeshna, adopt the means by which the
damsel of the gait of an elephant may accept me; I am dying of absorbing

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing his profuse lamentations, that gentle
lady, the intelligent queen of Virata, was touched with pity. And having
taken counsel with her own self and reflected on Kichaka’s purpose and on
the anxiety of Krishna, Sudeshna addressed the Suta’s son in these words,
‘Do thou, on the occasion of some festival, procure viands and wines for
me. I shall then send my Sairindhri to thee on the pretence of bringing
wine. And when she will repair thither do thou in solitude, free from
interruption, humour her as thou likest. Thus soothed, she may incline
her mind to thee.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, he went out of his sister’s
apartments. And he soon procured wines well-filtered and worthy of a
king. And employing skilled cooks, he prepared many and various kinds of
choice viands and delicious drinks and many and various kinds of meat of
different degrees of excellence. And when all this had been done, that
gentle lady Sudeshna, as previously counselled by Kichaka, desired her
Sairindhri to repair to Kichaka’s abode, saying, ‘Get up, O Sairindhri
and repair to Kichaka’s abode to bring wine, for, O beauteous lady, I am
afflicted with thirst.’ Thereupon the Sairindhri replied, ‘O princess, I
shall not be able to repair to Kichaka’s apartments. Thou thyself
knowest, O queen, how shameless he is. O thou of faultless limbs, O
beauteous lady, in thy palace I shall not be able to lead a lustful life,
becoming faithless to my husbands. Thou rememberest, O gentle lady, O
beautiful one, the conditions I had set down before entering thy house. O
thou of tresses ending in graceful curls, the foolish Kichaka afflicted
by the god of desire, will, on seeing me, offer me insult. Therefore, I
will not go to his quarters. Thou hast, O princess, many maids under
thee. Do thou, good betide thee, send one of them. For, surely, Kichaka
will insult me.’ Sudeshna said, ‘Sent by me, from my abode, surely he
will not harm thee.’ And having said this, she handed over a golden
vessel furnished with a cover. And filled with apprehension, and weeping,
Draupadi mentally prayed for the protection of the gods, and set out for
Kichaka’s abode for fetching wine. And she said, ‘As I do not know
another person save my husbands, by virtue of that Truth let Kichaka not
be able to overpower me although I may approach his presence.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “And that helpless damsel then adored Surya for
a moment. And Surya, having considered all that she urged, commanded a
Rakshasa to protect her invisibly. And from that time the Rakshasa began
to attend upon that blameless lady under any circumstances. And beholding
Krishna in his presence like a frightened doe, the Suta rose up from his
seat, and felt the joy that is felt by a person wishing to cross to the
other shore, when he obtains a boat.”


“Kichaka said, ‘O thou of tresses ending in beautiful curls, thou art
welcome. Surely, the night that is gone hath brought me an auspicious
day, for I have got thee today as the mistress of my house. Do what is
agreeable to me. Let golden chains, and conchs and bright ear-rings made
of gold, manufactured in various countries, and beautiful rubies and
gems, and silken robes and deer-skins, be brought for thee. I have also
an excellent bed prepared for thee. Come, sitting upon it do thou drink
with me the wine prepared from the honey flower.’ Hearing these words,
Draupadi said, ‘I have been sent to thee by the princess for taking away
wine. Do thou speedily bring me wine, for she told me that she is
exceedingly thirsty.’ And this, Kichaka said, ‘O gentle lady, others will
carry what the princess wants.’ And saying this, the Suta’s son caught
hold of Draupadi’s right arm. And at this, Draupadi exclaimed, ‘As I have
never, from intoxication of the senses, been unfaithful to my husbands
even at heart, by that Truth, O wretch, I shall behold thee dragged and
lying powerless on the ground.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Seeing that large-eyed lady reproving him in
that strain, Kichaka suddenly seized her by the end of her upper garment
as she attempted to run away. And seized with violence by Kichaka, the
beautiful princess, unable to tolerate it, and with frame trembling with
wrath, and breathing quickly, dashed him to the ground. And dashed to the
ground thus, the sinful wretch tumbled down like a tree whose roots had
been cut. And having thrown Kichaka down on the ground when the latter
had seized her, she, trembling all over rushed to the court, where king
Yudhishthira was, for protection. And while she was running with all her
speed, Kichaka (who followed her), seizing her by the hair, and bringing
her down on the ground, kicked her in the very presence of the king.
Thereupon, O Bharata, the Rakshasa that had been appointed by Surya to
protect Draupadi, gave Kichaka a shove with a force mighty as that of the
wind. And overpowered by the force of Rakshasa, Kichaka reeled and fell
down senseless on the ground, even like an uprooted tree. And both
Yudhishthira and Bhimasena who were seated there, beheld with wrathful
eyes that outrage on Krishna by Kichaka. And desirous of compassing the
destruction of the wicked Kichaka, the illustrious Bhima gnashed his
teeth in rage. And his forehead was covered with sweat, and terrible
wrinkles appeared thereon. And a smoky exhalation shot forth from his
eyes, and his eye-lashes stood on end. And that slayer of hostile heroes
pressed his forehead with his hands. And impelled by rage, he was on the
point of starting up with speed. Thereat king Yudhishthira, apprehensive
of discovery, squeezed his thumbs and commanded Bhima to forbear. And
Bhima who then looked like an infuriate elephant eyeing a large tree, was
thus forbidden by his elder brother. And the latter said, ‘Lookest thou,
O cook, for trees for fuel. If thou art in need of faggots, then go out
and fell trees.’ And the weeping Draupadi of fair hips, approaching the
entrance of the court, and seeing her melancholy lords, desirous yet of
keeping up the disguise duty-bound by their pledge, with eyes burning in
fire, spoke these words unto the king of the Matsyas, ‘Alas, the son of a
Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those whose foe can
never sleep in peace even if four kingdoms intervene between him and
them. Alas, the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved
wife of those truthful personages, who are devoted to Brahmanas and who
always give away without asking any thing in gift. Alas! the son of a
Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those, the sounds of
whose kettle-drums and the twangs of whose bow-strings are ceaselessly
heard. Alas, the son of a Suta hath kicked today the proud and beloved
wife of those who are possessed of abundant energy and might, and who are
liberal in gifts and proud of their dignity. Alas, the son of a Suta hath
kicked today the proud and beloved wife of those who, if they had not
been fettered by the ties of duty, could destroy this entire world.
Where, alas, are those mighty warriors today who, though living in
disguise, have always granted protection unto those that solicit it? Oh,
why do those heroes today, endued as they are with strength and possessed
of immeasurable energy, quietly suffer, like eunuchs, their dear and
chaste wife to be thus insulted by a Suta’s son? Oh, where is that wrath
of theirs, that prowess, and that energy, when they quietly bear their
wife to be thus insulted by a wicked wretch? What can I (a weak woman) do
when Virata, deficient in virtue, coolly suffereth my innocent self to be
thus wronged by a wretch? Thou dost not, O king, act like a king towards
this Kichaka. Thy behaviour is like that of a robber, and doth not shine
in a court. That I should thus be insulted in thy very presence, O
Matsya, is highly improper. Oh, let all the courtiers here look at this
violence of Kichaka. Kichaka is ignorant of duty and morality, and Matsya
also is equally so. These courtiers also that wait upon such a king are
destitute of virtue.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “With these and other words of the same kind the
beautiful Krishna with tearful eyes rebuked the king of the Matsyas. And
hearing her, Virata said, ‘I do not know what your dispute has been out
of our sight. Not knowing the true cause how can I show my
discrimination?’ Then the courtiers, having learnt every thing, applauded
Krishna, and they all exclaimed, ‘Well done!’ ‘Well done!’ and censured
Kichaka. And the courtiers said, ‘That person who owneth this large-eyed
lady having every limb of hers endued with beauty for his wife,
possesseth what is of exceeding value and hath no occasion to indulge in
any grief. Surely, such a damsel of transcendent beauty and limbs
perfectly faultless is rare among men. Indeed, it seems to us that she is
a goddess.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “And while the courtiers, having beheld Krishna
(under such circumstances), were applauding her thus, Yudhishthira’s
forehead, from ire, became covered with sweat. And that bull of the Kuru
race then addressed that princess, his beloved spouse, saying, ‘Stay not
here, O Sairindhri; but retire to the apartments of Sudeshna. The wives
of heroes bear affliction for the sake of their husbands, and undergoing
toil in ministering unto their lords, they at last attain to region where
their husbands may go. Thy Gandharva husbands, effulgent as the sun, do
not, I imagine, consider this as an occasion for manifesting their wrath,
inasmuch as they do not rush to thy aid. O Sairindhri, thou art ignorant
of the timeliness of things, and it is for this that thou weepest as an
actress, besides interrupting the play of dice in Matsya’s court. Retire,
O Sairindhri; the Gandharvas will do what is agreeable to thee. And they
will surely display thy woe and take the life of him that hath wronged
thee.’ Hearing these words the Sairindhri replied, ‘They of whom I am the
wedded wife are, I ween, extremely kind. And as the eldest of them all is
addicted to dice, they are liable to be oppressed by all.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “And having said this, the fair-hipped Krishna
with dishevelled hair and eyes red in anger, ran towards the apartments
of Sudeshna. And in consequence of having wept long her face looked
beautiful like the lunar disc in the firmament, emerged from the clouds.
And beholding her in that condition, Sudeshna asked, ‘Who, O beauteous
lady, hath insulted thee? Why, O amiable damsel, dost thou weep? Who,
gentle one, hath done thee wrong? Whence is this thy grief?’ Thus
addressed, Draupadi said, ‘As I went to bring wine for thee, Kichaka
struck me in the court in the very presence of the king, as if in the
midst of a solitary wood.’ Hearing this, Sudeshna said, ‘O thou of
tresses ending in beautiful curls, as Kichaka, maddened by lust hath
insulted thee that art incapable of being possessed by him, I shall cause
him to be slain if thou wishest it.’ Thereupon Draupadi answered, ‘Even
others will slay him,--even they whom he hath wronged, I think it is
clear that he will have to go to the abode of Yama this very day!’”


Vaisampayana said, “Thus insulted by the Suta’s son, that illustrious
princess, the beautiful Krishna, eagerly wishing for the destruction of
Virata’s general, went to her quarters. And Drupada’s daughter of dark
hue and slender waist then performed her ablutions. And washing her body
and cloths with water Krishna began to ponder weepingly on the means of
dispelling her grief. And she reflected, saying, ‘What am I to do?
Whither shall I go? How can my purpose be effected?’ And while she was
thinking thus, she remembered Bhima and said to herself, ‘There is none
else, save Bhima, that can today accomplish the purpose on which my heart
is set!’ And afflicted with great grief, the large-eyed and intelligent
Krishna possessed of powerful protectors then rose up at night, and
leaving her bed speedily proceeded towards the quarters of Bhimasena,
desirous of beholding her lord. And possessed of great intelligence, the
daughter of Drupada entered her husband’s quarters, saying, ‘How canst
thou sleep while that wretched commander of Virata’s forces, who is my
foe, yet liveth, having perpetrated today that (foul act)?’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then the chamber where Bhima slept, breathing
hard like a lion, being filled with the beauty of Drupada’s daughter and
of the high-souled Bhima, blazed forth in splendour. And Krishna of sweet
smiles, finding Bhimasena in the cooking apartments, approached him with
the eagerness of a three-year old cow brought up in the woods,
approaching a powerful bull, in her first season, or of a she-crane
living by the water-side approaching her mate in the pairing season. And
the Princess of Panchala then embraced the second son of Pandu, even as a
creeper embraces a huge and mighty Sala on the banks of the Gomati. And
embracing him with her arms, Krishna of faultless features awaked him as
a lioness awaketh a sleeping lion in a trackless forest. And embracing
Bhimasena even as a she-elephant embraceth her mighty mate, the faultless
Panchali addressed him in voice sweet as the sound of a stringed
instrument emitting Gandhara note. And she said, ‘Arise, arise! Why dost
thou, O Bhimasena, lie down as one dead? Surely, he that is not dead,
never suffereth a wicked wretch that hath disgraced his wife, to live.’
And awakened by the princess, Bhima of mighty arms, then rose up, and sat
upon his couch overlaid with a rich bed. And he of the Kuru race then
addressed the princess--his beloved wife, saying, ‘For what purpose hast
thou come hither in such a hurry? Thy colour is gone and thou lookest
lean and pale. Tell me everything in detail. I must know the truth.
Whether it be pleasurable or painful, agreeable, or disagreeable, tell me
all. Having heard everything, I shall apply the remedy. I alone, O
Krishna, am entitled to thy confidence in all things, for it is I who
deliver thee from perils again and again! Tell me quickly what is thy
wish, and what is the purpose that is in thy view, and return thou to thy
bed before others awake.’”


“Draupadi said, ‘What grief hath she not who hath Yudhishthira for her
husband? Knowing all my griefs, why dost thou ask me? The Pratikamin
dragged me to the court in the midst of an assembly of courtiers, calling
me a slave. That grief, O Bharata, consumeth me. What other princess,
save Draupadi, would live having suffered such intense misery? Who else,
save myself, could bear such second insult as the wicked Saindhava
offered me while residing in the forest? Who else of my position, save
myself, could live, having been kicked by Kichaka in the very sight of
the wicked king of the Matsyas? Of what value is life, O Bharata, when
thou, O son of Kunti, dost not think me miserable, although I am
afflicted with such woes? That vile and wicked wretch, O Bharata, known
by the name of Kichaka, who is the brother-in-law of king Virata and the
commander of his forces, every day, O tiger among men, addresses me who
am residing in the palace as a Sairindhri, saying, “Do thou become my
wife.”--Thus solicited, O slayer of foes, by that wretch deserving to be
slain, my heart is bursting like a fruit ripened in season. Censure thou
that elder brother of thine addicted to execrable dice, through whose act
alone I have been afflicted with such woe. Who else, save him that is a
desperate gambler, would play, giving up kingdom and everything including
even myself, in order to lead a life in the woods? If he had gambled
morning and evening for many years together, staking nishkas by thousand
and other kinds of substantial wealth, still his silver, and gold, and
robes, and vehicles, and teams, and goats, and sheep, and multitudes of
steeds and mares and mules would not have sustained any diminution. But
now deprived of prosperity by the rivalry of dice, he sits dumb like a
fool, reflecting on his own misdeeds. Alas, he who, while sojourning, was
followed by ten thousand elephants adorned with golden garlands now
supports himself by casting dice. That Yudhishthira who at Indraprastha
was adored by kings of incomparable prowess by hundreds of thousands,
that mighty monarch in whose kitchen a hundred thousand maid-servants,
plate in hand, used every day to feed numerous guests day and night, that
best of liberal men, who gave (every day) a thousand nishkas, alas, even
he overwhelmed with woe in consequence of gambling which is the root of
all evil, now supporteth himself by casting dice. Bards and encomiasts by
thousands decked with ear-rings set with brilliant gems, and gifted with
melodious voice, used to pay him homage morning and evening. Alas, that
Yudhishthira, who was daily waited upon by a thousand sages of ascetic
merit, versed in the Vedas and having every desire gratified, as his
courtiers,--that Yudhishthira who maintained eighty-eight thousands of
domestic Snatakas with thirty maid-servants assigned unto each, as also
ten thousand yatis not accepting anything in gift and with vital seed
drawn up,--alas, even that mighty king now liveth in such guise. That
Yudhishthira who is without malice, who is full of kindness, and who
giveth every creature his due, who hath all these excellent attributes,
alas--even he now liveth in such guise. Possessed of firmness and
unbaffled prowess, with heart disposed to give every creature his due,
king Yudhishthira, moved by compassion, constantly maintained in his
kingdom the blind, the old, the helpless, the parentless and all others
in his dominions in such distress. Alas, that Yudhishthira becoming a
dependant and a servant of Matsya, a caster of dice in his court, now
calls himself Kanka. He unto whom while residing at Indraprastha, all the
rulers of earth used to pay timely tribute,--alas, even he now begs for
subsistence at another’s hands. He to whom the kings of the earth were in
subjection,--alas, even that king having lost his liberty, liveth in
subjection to others. Having dazzled the entire earth like the sun by his
energy, that Yudhishthira, alas, is now a courtier of king Virata. O
Pandu’s son, that Pandava who was respectfully waited upon in court by
kings and sages, behold him now waiting upon another. Alas, beholding
Yudhishthira a courtier sitting beside another and breathing adulatory
speeches to the other, who can help being afflicted with grief? And
beholding the highly wise and virtuous Yudhishthira, undeserving as he is
of serving others, actually serving another for sustenance, who can help
being afflicted with grief? And, O hero, that Bharata who was worshipped
in court by the entire earth, do thou now behold him worshipping another.
Why then, O Bharata, dost thou not regard me as one afflicted with
diverse miseries, like one forlorn and immersed in a sea of sorrow?’”


“Draupadi said, ‘This O Bharata, that I am going to tell thee is another
great grief of mine. Thou shouldst not blame me, for I tell thee this
from sadness of heart. Who is there whose grief is not enhanced at sight
of thee, O bull of the Bharata race, engaged in the ignoble office of a
cook, so entirely beneath thee and calling thyself as one of Vallava
caste? What can be sadder than this, that people should know thee as
Virata’s cook, Vallava by name, and therefore one that is sunk in
servitude? Alas, when thy work of the kitchen is over, thou humbly
sittest beside Virata, calling thyself as Vallava the cook, then
despondency seizeth my heart. When the king of kings in joy maketh thee
fight with elephants, and the women of the inner apartments (of the
palace) laugh all the while, then I am sorely distressed. When thou
fightest in the inner apartments with lions, tigers, and buffaloes, the
princess Kaikeyi looking on, then I almost swoon away. And when Kaikeyi
and those maidservants, leaving their seats, come to assist me and find
that instead of suffering any injury in limbs mine is only a swoon, the
princess speaks unto her women, saying, “Surely, it is from affection and
the duty begot of intercourse that this lady of sweet smiles grieveth for
the exceedingly powerful cook when he fights with the beasts. Sairindhri
is possessed of great beauty and Vallava also is eminently handsome. The
heart of woman is hard to know, and they, I fancy, are deserving of each
other. It is, therefore, likely that the Sairindhri invariably weepeth
(at such times) on account of her connection with her lover. And then,
they both have entered this royal family at the same time. And speaking
such words she always upbraideth me. And beholding me wroth at this, she
suspects me to be attached to thee.” When she speaketh thus, great is the
grief that I feel. Indeed, on beholding thee, O Bhima of terrible
prowess, afflicted with such calamity, sunk as I already am in grief on
account of Yudhishthira. I do not desire to live. That youth who on a
single car had vanquished all celestials and men, is now, alas, the
dancing master of king Virata’s daughter. That Pritha’s son of
immeasurable soul, who had gratified Agni in the forest of Khandava, is
now living in the inner apartments (of a palace) like fire hid in a well.
Alas, the bull among men, Dhananjaya, who was ever the terror of foes, is
now living in a guise that is despaired by all. Alas, he whose mace-like
arms have been cicatrized in consequence of the strokes of his
bow-string, alas that Dhananjaya is passing the days in grief covering
his wrists with bracelets of conchs. Alas, that Dhananjaya the twang of
whose bow-string and the sound of whose leathern fences made every foe
tremble, now entertains only gladdened women with his songs. Oh, that
Dhananjaya whose head was formerly decked with a diadem of solar
splendour, is now wearing braids ending in unsightly curls. O Bhima,
beholding that terrible bowman, Arjuna, now wearing braids and in the
midst of women, my heart is stricken with woe. That high-souled hero who
is master of all the celestial weapons, and who is the repository of all
the sciences, now weareth ear-rings (like one of the fair sex). That
youth whom kings of incomparable prowess could not overpower in fight,
even as the waters of the mighty ocean cannot overleap the continents, is
now the dancing-master of king Virata’s daughters and waits upon them in
disguise. O Bhima, that Arjuna the clatter of whose car-wheels caused the
entire earth with her mountains and forests, her mobile and immobile
things to tremble, and whose birth dispelled all the sorrows of Kunti,
that exalted hero, that younger brother of thine, O Bhimasena, now maketh
me weep for him. Beholding him coming towards me, decked in golden
ear-rings and other ornaments, and wearing on the wrists bracelets of
conchs, my heart is afflicted with despondency. And Dhananjaya who hath
not a bowman equal unto him on earth in prowess, now passeth his days in
singing, surrounded by women. Beholding that son of Pritha who in virtue,
heroism and truth, was the most admired in the world, now living in the
guise of a woman, my heart is afflicted with sorrow. When I behold, the
godlike Partha in the music-hall like an elephant with rent temples
surrounded by she-elephants in the midst of females, waiting before
Virata the king of the Matsyas, then I lose all sense of directions.
Surely, my mother-in-law doth not know Dhananjaya to be afflicted with
such extreme distress. Nor doth she know that descendant of the Kuru
race, Ajatasatru, addicted to disastrous dice, to be sunk in misery. O
Bharata, beholding the youngest of you all, Sahadeva, superintending the
kine, in the guise of a cowherd, I grow pale. Always thinking of
Sahadeva’s plight, I cannot, O Bhimasena, obtain sleep,--what to speak
you of the rest? I do not know, O mighty-armed one, what sin Sahadeva may
have committed for which that hero of unbaffled prowess suffereth such
misery. O foremost of the Bharatas, beholding that beloved brother of
thine, that bull among men, employed by Matsya in looking after his kine,
I am filled with woe. Seeing that hero of proud disposition gratifying
Virata, by living at the head of his cowherds, attired in robes dyed in
red, I am attacked with fever. My mother-in-law always applauds the
heroic Sahadeva as one possessed of nobility, excellent behaviour, and
rectitude of conduct. Ardently attached to her sons, the weeping Kunti
stood, embracing Sahadeva while he was about to set out (with us) for the
great forest. And she addressed me saying, “Sahadeva is bashful and
sweet-speeched, and virtuous. He is also my favourite child. Therefore, O
Yajnaseni, tend him in the forest day and night. Delicate and brave,
devoted to the king, and always worshipping his elder brother, do thou, O
Panchali, feed him thyself.” O Pandava, beholding that foremost of
warriors, Sahadeva, engaged in tending kine, and sleeping at night on
calf-skins, how can I bear to live? He again who is crowned with the
three attributes of beauty, arms, and intelligence, is now the
superintendent of Virata’s steeds. Behold the change brought on by time.
Granthika (Nakula), at sight of whom hostile hosts fled from the field of
battle, now traineth horses in the presence of the king, driving them
with speed. Alas, I now see that handsome youth wait upon the
gorgeously decked and excellent Virata, the king of the Matsyas, and
display horses before him. O son of Pritha, afflicted as I am with all
these hundred kinds of misery on account of Yudhishthira, why dost thou,
O chastiser of foes, yet deem me happy? Listen now to me, O son of Kunti,
as I tell thee of other woes far surpassing these. What can be sadder to
me than miseries so various as these should emaciate me while ye are


“Draupadi said, ‘Alas, on account of that desperate gambler, I am now
under Sudeshna’s command, living in the palace in the guise of a
Sairindhri. And, O chastiser of foes, behold the plight of poignant woe
which I, a princess, am now in. I am living in expectation of the close
of this stated period.[14] The extreme of misery, therefore, is mine.
Success of purpose, victory, and defeat, as regards mortals, are
transitory. It is in this belief that I am living in expectation of the
return of prosperity to my husbands. Prosperity and adversity revolve
like a wheel. It is in this belief that I am living in expectation of the
return of prosperity to my husbands. That cause which bringeth on
victory, may bring defeat as well. I live in this hope. Why dost thou
not, O Bhimasena, regard me as one dead? I have heard that persons that
give may beg: that they who slay may be slain; and that they who
over-throw others may themselves be overthrown by foes. Nothing is
difficult for Destiny and none can over-ride Destiny. It is for this that
I am awaiting the return of favourable fortune. As a tank once dried, is
filled up once again, so hoping for a change for the better, I await the
return of prosperity. When one’s business that hath been well-provided
for is seen to be frustrated, a truly wise person should never strive for
bringing back good fortune. Plunged as I am in sorrow, asked or unasked
by thee to explain the purpose of these words spoken by me, I shall tell
thee everything. Queen of the sons of Pandu and daughter of Drupada, who
else, save myself, would wish to live, having fallen into such a plight?
O represser of foes, the misery, therefore, that hath overtaken me, hath
really humiliated the entire Kuru race, the Panchalas, and the sons of
Pandu. Surrounded by numerous brothers and father-in-law and sons, what
other woman having such cause for joy, save myself, would be afflicted
with such woe? Surely, I must, in my childhood, have committed act highly
offensive to Dhatri through whose displeasure, O bull of the Bharata
race, I have been visited with such consequences. Mark, O son of Pandu,
the pallour that hath come over my complexion which not even a life in
the woods fraught as it was with extreme misery, could bring about. Thou,
O Pritha’s son, knowest what happiness, O Bhima, was formerly mine. Even,
I, who was such have now sunk into servitude. Sorely distressed, I can
find no rest. That the mighty-armed and terrible bowman, Dhananjaya the
son of Pritha, should now live like a fire that hath been put out, maketh
me think of all this as attributable to Destiny. Surely, O son of Pritha,
it is impossible for men to understand the destinies of creatures (in
this world). I, therefore, think this downfall of yours as something that
could not be averted by forethought. Alas, she who hath you all, that
resemble Indra himself to attend to her comforts--even she, so chaste and
exalted, hath now to attend to the comforts of others, that are to her
far inferior in rank. Behold, O Pandava, my plight. It is what I do not
deserve. You are alive, yet behold this inversion of order that time hath
brought. She who had the whole Earth to the verge of the sea under her
control, is now under the control of Sudeshna and living in fear of her.
She who had dependants to walk both before and behind her, alas, now
herself walketh before and behind Sudeshna. This, O Kaunteya, is another
grief of mine that is intolerable. O, listen to it. She who had never,
save for Kunti, pounded unguents even for her own use, now, good betide
thee, poundeth sandal (for others). O Kaunteya, behold these hands of
mine which were not so before.’ Saying this she showed him her hands
marked with corns. And she continued, ‘she who had never feared Kunti
herself nor thee and thy brothers, now standeth in fear before Virata as
a slave, anxious of what that king of kings may say unto her regarding
the proper preparation of the unguents, for Matsya liketh not sandal
pounded by others.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Relating her woes thus, O Bharata, unto
Bhimasena, Krishna began to weep silently, casting her eyes on Bhima. And
then, with words choked in tears, and sighing repeatedly, she addressed
Bhima in these words, powerfully stirring his heart, ‘Signal, O Bhima,
must have been my offence of old unto the gods, for, unfortunate as I am.
I am yet alive, when, O Pandava, I should die.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then that slayer of hostile heroes, Vrikodara,
covering his face with those delicate hands of his wife marked with
corns, began to weep. And that mighty son of Kunti, holding the hands of
Draupadi in his, shed copious tears. And afflicted with great woe, he
spoke these words.”


“Bhima said, ‘Fie on the might of my arms and fie on the Gandiva of
Falguni, inasmuch as thy hands, red before, now become covered with
corns. I would have caused a carnage in Virata’s court but for the fact
that Kunti’s son eyed me (by way of forbidding it), or like a mighty
elephant. I would, without ado, have crushed the head of Kichaka
intoxicated with the pride of sovereignty. When, O Krishna, I beheld thee
kicked by Kichaka, I conceived at that instant a wholesale slaughter of
the Matsyas. Yudhishthira, however, forbade me by a glance, and, O
beauteous lady, understanding his intention I have kept quiet. That we
have been deprived of our kingdom, that I have not yet slain the Kurus,
that I have not yet taken the heads of Suyodhana and Karna, and Suvala’s
son Sakuni, and the wicked Duhsasana, these acts and omissions, O lady,
are consuming every limb of mine. The thought of those abides in my heart
like a javelin implanted in it. O thou of graceful hips, do not sacrifice
virtue, and, O noble-hearted lady, subdue thy wrath. If king Yudhishthira
hear from thee such rebukes, he will surely put an end to his life. If
also Dhananjaya and the twins hear thee speak thus, even they will
renounce life. And if these, O slender-waisted maiden, give up life, I
also shall not be able to bear my own. In olden days Sarjati’s daughter,
the beautiful Sukanya, followed into the forest Chyavana of Bhrigu’s
race, whose mind was under complete control, and over whom, while engaged
in ascetic meditation, the ants had built a hill. Thou mayst have heard
that Indrasena also who in beauty was like unto Narayani herself,
followed her husband aged a thousand years. Thou mayst have heard that
Janaka’s daughter Sita, the princess of Videha, followed her lord while
living in dense woods. And that lady of graceful hips, Rama’s beloved
wife, afflicted with calamities and persecuted by the Rakshasas, at
length regained the company of Rama. Lopamudra also, O timid one, endued
with youth and beauty, followed Agastya, renouncing all the objects of
enjoyment unattainable by men. And the intelligent and faultless Savitri
also followed the heroic Satyavan, the son of Dyumatsena, alone into the
world of Yama. Even like these chaste and beautiful ladies that I have
named, thou, O blessed girl, bloomest with every virtue. Do thou spend a
short while more that is measured by even a half month. And when the
thirteenth year is complete, thou wilt (again) become the Queen regnant
of a king.’ Hearing these words, Draupadi said, ‘Unable, O Bhima, to bear
my griefs, it is from grief alone that I have shed these tears. I do not
censure Yudhishthira. Nor is there any use in dwelling on the past. O
Bhima of mighty strength, come quickly forward to the work of the hour. O
Bhima, Kaikeyi, jealous of my beauty, always pains me by her endeavours
to prevent the king from taking a fancy to me. And understanding this
disposition of hers, the wicked-souled Kichaka of immoral ways constantly
solicits me himself. Angry with him for this, but then suppressing my
wrath I answer that wretch deprived of sense by lust, saying, “O Kichaka,
protect thyself. I am the beloved queen and wife of five Gandharvas.
Those heroes in wrath will slay thee that art so rash.” Thus addressed,
Kichaka of wicked soul replied unto me, saying, “I have not the least
fear of the Gandharvas, O Sairindhri of sweet smiles. I will slay hundred
thousand Gandharvas, encountering them in battle. Therefore, O timid one,
do thou consent.” Hearing all this, I again addressed the lust-afflicted
Suta, saying, “Thou art no match for those illustrious Gandharvas. Of
respectable percentage and good disposition, I ever adhere to virtue and
never wish for the death of any one. It is for this that thou I vest, O
Kichaka!” At this, that wight of wicked soul burst out into a loud
laughter. And it came to pass that Kaikeyi previously urged by Kichaka,
and moved by affection for her brother, and desirous of doing him a good
turn, despatched me to him, saying “Do thou, O Sairindhri, fetch wine
from Kichaka’s quarters!” On beholding me the Suta’s son at first
addressed me in sweet words, and when that failed, he became exceedingly
enraged, and intended to use violence. Understanding the purpose of the
wicked Kichaka, I speedily rushed towards the place where the king was.
Felling me on the ground the wretch then kicked me in the very presence
of the king himself and before the eyes of Kanka and many others,
including charioteers, and royal favourites, and elephant-riders, and
citizens. I rebuked the king and Kanka again and again. The king,
however, neither prevented Kichaka, nor inflicted any chastisement on
him. The principal ally of king Virata in war, the cruel Kichaka reft of
virtue is loved by both the king and the queen. O exalted one, brave,
proud, sinful, adulterous, and engrossed in all objects of enjoyment, he
earneth immense wealth (from the king), and robs the possessions of
others even if they cry in distress. And he never walketh in the path of
virtue, nor doth he any virtuous act. Of wicked soul, and vicious
disposition, haughty and villainous, and always afflicted by the shafts
of Kama, though repulsed repeatedly, if he sees me again, he will outrage
me. I shall then surely renounce my life. Although striving to acquire
virtue (on my death) your highly meritorious acts will come to naught. Ye
that are now obeying your pledge, ye will lose your wife. By protecting
one’s wife one’s offspring are protected, and by protecting one’s
offspring, one’s own self is protected. And it is because one begets
one’s own self in one’s wife that the wife is called Jaya[15] by the
wise. The husband also should be protected by the wife, thinking,--“How
else will he take his birth in my womb?”--I have heard it from Brahmanas
expounding the duties of the several orders that a Kshatriya hath no
other duty than subduing enemies. Alas, Kichaka kicked me in the very
presence of Yudhishthira the Just, and also of thyself, O Bhimasena of
mighty strength. It was thou, O Bhima, that didst deliver me from the
terrible Jatasura. It was thou also that with thy brothers didst vanquish
Jayadratha. Do thou now slay this wretch also who hath insulted me.
Presuming upon his being a favourite of the king, Kichaka, O Bharata,
hath enhanced my woe. Do thou, therefore, smash this lustful wight even
like an earthen pot dashed upon a stone. If, O Bharata, tomorrow’s sun
sheds his rays upon him who is the source of many griefs of mine, I
shall, surely, mixing poison (with some drink), drink it up,--for I never
shall yield to Kichaka. Far better it were, O Bhima, that I should die
before thee.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having said this, Krishna, hiding her face in
Bhima’s breast began to weep. And Bhima, embracing her, consoled her to
the best of his power. And having abundantly consoled that
slender-waisted daughter of Drupada by means of words fraught with grave
reason and sense, he wiped with his hands her face flooded with tears.
And thinking of Kichaka and licking with his tongue the corners of his
mouth, Bhima, filled with wrath thus spake to that distressed lady.”


“Bhima said, ‘I will, O timid one, do even as thou sayest. I will
presently slay Kichaka with all his friends. O Yajnaseni of sweet smiles,
tomorrow evening, renouncing sorrow and grief, manage to have a meeting
with Kichaka. The dancing-hall that the king of the Matsya hath caused to
be erected is used by the girls for dancing during the day. They repair,
however, to their homes at night. There in that hall, is an excellent and
well-placed wooden bed-stead. Even there I will make him see the spirits
of his deceased grandsires. But, O beautiful one, when thou holdest
converse with him, thou must manage it so that others may not espy thee.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having thus conversed with others, and shed
tears in grief, they waited for the dawn of that night with painful
impatience. And when the night had passed away, Kichaka, rising in the
morning, went to the palace, and accosted Draupadi saying, ‘Throwing thee
down in the court I kicked thee in the presence of the king. Attacked by
his mighty self, thou couldst not obtain protection. This Virata is in name
only the king of the Matsyas. Commanding the forces of this realm it is
I who am the real lord of the Matsyas. Do thou, O timid one, accept me
cheerfully. I shall become thy slave. And, O thou of graceful hips, I
will immediately give thee a hundred nishkas, and engage a hundred male
and a hundred female servants (to tend thee), and will also bestow on
thee cars yoked with she-mules. O timid lady, let our union take place.’
Draupadi replied, ‘O Kichaka, know even this is my condition. Neither thy
friends nor thy brothers should know thy union with me. I am in terror of
detection by those illustrious Gandharvas. Promise me this, and I yield
to thee.’ Hearing this Kichaka said, ‘I will, O thou of graceful hips, do
even as thou sayest. Afflicted by the god of love, I will, O beauteous
damsel, alone repair to thy abode for union with thee, O thou of thighs
round and tapering like the trunks of the plantain,--so that those
Gandharvas, effulgent as the sun, may not come to know of this act of
thine.’ Draupadi said, ‘Do thou, when it is dark, go to the dancing-hall
erected by the king of the Matsyas where the girls dance during the day,
repairing to their respective homes at night. The Gandharvas do not know
that place. We shall then without doubt, escape all censure.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Reflecting on the subject of her conversation
with Kichaka, that half a day seemed to Krishna as long as a whole month.
And the stupid Kichaka also, not knowing that it was Death that had
assumed the form of a Sairindhri, returning home experienced the greatest
delight. And deprived of sense by lust, Kichaka became speedily engaged
in embellishing his person with unguents and garlands and ornaments. And
while he was doing all this, thinking of that damsel of large eyes, the
day seemed to him to be without an end. And the beauty of Kichaka, who
was about to forsake his beauty for ever, seemed to heighten, like the
wick of a burning lamp about to expire. And reposing the fullest
confidence in Draupadi, Kichaka, deprived of his senses by lust and
absorbed in the contemplation of expected meeting, did not even perceive
that the day had departed. Meanwhile, the beautiful Draupadi approaching
her husband Bhima of the Kuru race, stood before him in the kitchen. And
that lady with tresses ending in beautiful curls then spake unto him,
saying, ‘O chastiser of foes, even as thou hadst directed, I have given
Kichaka to understand that our meeting will take place in the
dancing-hall. Alone will he come at night to the empty hall. Slay him
there, O thou of mighty arms. Do thou, O son of Kunti, repair to that
dancing-hall, and take the life, O Pandava, of Kichaka, that son of a
Suta intoxicated with vanity. From vanity alone, that son of a Suta
slights the Gandharvas. O best of smiters, lift him up from the earth
even as Krishna had lifted up the Naga (Kaliya) from the Yamuna. O
Pandava, afflicted as I am with grief, wipe thou my tears, and blessed be
thou, protect thy own honour and that of thy race.’

“Bhima said, ‘Welcome, O beauteous lady. Except the glad tidings thou
bringest me, I need, O thou of exceeding beauty, no other aid whatever.
The delight that I feel, O thou of great beauty, on hearing from thee
about my coming encounter with Kichaka, is equal to what I felt in
slaying Hidimva. I swear unto thee by Truth, by my brothers, and by
morality, that I will slay Kichaka even as the lord of the celestials
slew Vritra. Whether secretly or openly, I will crush Kichaka, and if the
Matsyas fight for him, then I will slay them too. And slaying Duryodhana
afterwards, I shall win back the earth. Let Yudhishthira, the son of
Kunti, continue to pay homage unto the king of Matsya.’ Hearing these
words of Bhima, Draupadi said, ‘In order that, O lord, thou mayst not
have to renounce the truth already pledged to me, do thou, O hero, slay
Kichaka in secret.’ Bhima assuring her said, ‘Even today I shall slay
Kichaka together with his friends unknown to others during the darkness
of the night. I shall, O faultless lady, crush, even as an elephant
crusheth a vela fruit, [16] the head of the wicked Kichaka who wisheth
for what is unattainable by him!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Repairing first to the place of assignation at
night, Bhima sat down, disguising himself. And he waited there in
expectation of Kichaka, like a lion lying in wait for a deer. And
Kichaka, having embellished his person as he chose, came to the
dancing-hall at the appointed time in the hope of meeting Panchali. And
thinking of the assignation, he entered the chamber. And having entered
that hall enveloped in deep gloom, that wretch of wicked soul came upon
Bhima of incomparable prowess, who had come a little before and who was
waiting in a corner. And as an insect approacheth towards a flaming fire,
or a puny animal towards a lion, Kichaka approached Bhima, lying down in
a bed and burning in anger at the thought of the insult offered to
Krishna, as if he were the Suta’s Death. And having approached Bhima,
Kichaka possessed by lust, and his heart and soul filled with ecstacy
smilingly said, ‘O thou of pencilled eye-brows, to thee I have already
given many and various kinds of wealth from the stores earned by me, as
well as hundred maids and many fine robes, and also a mansion with an
inner apartment adorned with beauteous and lovely and youthful maid
servants and embellished by every kind of sports and amusements. And
having set all those apart for thee, I have speedily come hither. And all
on a sudden, women have begun to praise me, saying, ‘There is not in this
world any other person like unto thee in beauty and dress!’ Hearing this,
Bhima said, ‘It is well that thou art handsome, and it is well thou
praisest thyself. I think, however, that thou hadst never before this
such pleasurable touch! Thou hast an acute touch, and knowest the ways of
gallantry. Skilled in the art of love-making, thou art a favourite with
women. There is none like thee in this world!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Saying this, that son of Kunti, the
mighty-armed Bhima of terrible prowess, suddenly rose up, and laughingly
said, ‘Thy sister, O wretch, shall today behold thee dragged by me to the
ground, like a mighty elephant, huge as a mountain, dragged to the ground
by a lion. Thyself slain Sairindhri will live in peace, and we, her
husbands, will also live in peace.’ Saying this, the mighty Bhima seized
Kichaka by the hairs of his head, which were adorned with garlands. And
thus seized with force by the hair, that foremost of mighty persons,
Kichaka, quickly freed his hair and grasped the arms of Bhima. And then
between those lions among men, fired with wrath, between that chief of
the Kichaka clan, and that best of men, there ensued a hand-to-hand
encounter, like that between two powerful elephants for a female elephant
in the season of spring, or like that which happened in days of yore
between those lions among monkeys, the brothers Vali and Sugriva. And
both equally infuriate and both eager for victory, both those combatants
raised their arms resembling snakes furnished with five hoods, and
attacked each other with their nails and teeth, wrought up to frenzy of
wrath. Impetuously assailed by the powerful Kichaka in that encounter,
the resolute Bhima did not waver a single step. And locked in each
other’s embraces and dragging each other, they fought on like two mighty
bulls. And having nails and teeth for their weapons, the encounter
between them was fierce and terrible like that of two furious tigers. And
felling each other in fury, they encountered each other like a couple of
elephants with rent temples. And the mighty Bhima then seized Kichaka,
and Kichaka, that foremost of strong persons threw Bhima down with
violence. And as those mighty combatants fought on, the crash of their
arms produced a loud noise that resembled the clatter of splitting
bamboos. Then Vrikodara throwing Kichaka down by main force within the
room, began to toss him about furiously even as a hurricane tosseth a
tree. And attacked thus in battle by the powerful Bhima, Kichaka grew
weak and began to tremble. For all that, however, he tugged at the
Pandava to the best of his power. And attacking Bhima, and making him
wave a little, the mighty Kichaka struck him with his knees and brought
him down to the ground. And overthrown by the powerful Kichaka, Bhima
quickly rose up like Yama himself with mace in hand. And thus that
powerful Suta and the Pandava, intoxicated with strength and challenging
each other, grappled with each other at midnight in that solitary place.
And as they roared at each other in wrath, that excellent and strong
edifice began to shake every moment. And slapped on the chest by the
mighty Bhima, Kichaka fired with wrath moved not a single pace. And
bearing for a moment only that onslaught incapable of being born on
earth, the Suta, overpowered by Bhima’s might, became enfeebled. And
seeing him waning weak, Bhima endued with great strength forcibly drew
Kichaka towards his breast, and began to press hard. And breathing hard
again and again in wrath, that best of victors, Vrikodara, forcibly
seized Kichaka by the hair. And having seized Kichaka, the mighty Bhima
began to roar like a hungry tiger that hath killed a large animal. And
finding him exceedingly exhausted, Vrikodara bound him fast with his
arms, as one binds a beast with a cord. And then Bhima began for a long
while, to whirl the senseless Kichaka, who began to roar frightfully like
a broken trumpet.[17] And in order to pacify Krishna’s wrath Vrikodara
grasped Kichaka’s throat with his arms and began to squeeze it. And
assailing with his knees the waist of that worst of the Kichakas, all the
limbs of whose body had been broken into fragments and whose eye-lids
were closed, Vrikodara slew him, as one would slay a beast. And beholding
Kichaka entirely motionless, the son of Pandu began to roll him about on
the ground. And Bhima then said, ‘Slaying this wretch who intended to
violate our wife,--this thorn in the side of Sairindhri, I am freed from
the debt I owed to my brothers, and have attained perfect peace.’ And
having said this, that foremost of men, with eyes red in wrath,
relinquished his hold of Kichaka, whose dress and ornaments had been
thrown off his person, whose eyes were rolling, and whose body was yet
trembling. And that foremost of mighty persons, squeezing his own hands,
and biting his lips in rage, again attacked his adversary and thrust his
arms and legs and neck and head into his body like the wielder of the
Pinaka reducing into shapeless mass the deer, which form sacrifice had
assumed in order to escape his ire. And having crushed all his limbs,
and reduced him into a ball of flesh, the mighty Bhimasena showed him
unto Krishna. And endued with mighty energy that hero then addressed
Draupadi, that foremost of all women, saying, ‘Come princess of Panchala,
and see what hath become of that lustful wretch!’ And saying this, Bhima
of terrible prowess began to press with his feet the body of that wicked
wight. And lighting a torch then and showing Draupadi the body of
Kichaka, that hero addressed her, saying, ‘O thou of tresses ending in
beautiful curls, those that solicit thee, endued as thou art with an
excellent disposition and every virtue, will be slain by me even as this
Kichaka hath been, O timid one.’ And having accomplished that difficult
task so highly agreeable to Krishna--having indeed slain Kichaka and
thereby pacified his wrath, Bhima bade farewell to Krishna, the daughter
of Drupada, and quickly went back to the kitchen. And Draupadi also, that
best of women, having caused Kichaka to be slain had her grief removed
and experienced the greatest delight. And addressing the keepers of the
dancing-hall, she said, ‘Come ye and behold Kichaka who had violated
after other people’s wives lieth down here, slain by my Gandharva
husbands.’ And hearing these words the guards of the dancing hall soon
came by thousands to that spot, torches in hand. And repairing to that
room, they beheld the lifeless Kichaka thrown on the ground, drenched
with blood. And beholding him without arms and legs, they were filled
with grief. And as they gazed at Kichaka, they were struck with
amazement. And seeing that superhuman act, viz., the overthrow of
Kichaka, they said, ‘Where is his neck, and where are his legs?’ And
beholding him in this plight they all concluded that he had been killed
by a Gandharva.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Then all the relatives of Kichaka, arriving at that
place, beheld him there and began to wail aloud, surrounding him on all
sides. And beholding Kichaka with every limb mangled, and lying like a
tortoise dragged to dry ground from the water, all of them were overcome
with exceeding fright, and the bristles of their bodies stood on end. And
seeing him crushed all over by Bhima, like a Danava by Indra, they
proceeded to take him outside, for performing his funeral obsequies. And
then those persons of the Suta clan thus assembled together espied
Krishna of faultless limbs hard by, who stood reclining on a pillar. And
all the Kichakas assembled there, exclaimed, ‘Let this unchaste woman be
slain for whom Kichaka hath himself lost his life. Or, without slaying
her here, let us cremate her with him that had lusted after her,--for it
behoveth us to accomplish in every way what is agreeable to that deceased
son of Suta.’ And then they addressed Virata, saying, ‘It is for her sake
that Kichaka hath lost his life. Let him, therefore, be cremated along
with her. It behoveth thee to grant this permission.’ Thus addressed by
them, king Virata, O monarch, knowing fully well the prowess of the Suta
gave his assent to Sairindhri being burnt along with the Suta’s son. And
at this, the Kichakas approaching the frightened and stupefied Krishna of
lotus-like eyes, seized her with violence. And binding that damsel of
slender waist and placing her upon the bier, they set out with great
energy towards the cemetery. And, O king, while thus forcibly carried
towards the cemetery by those sons of the Suta tribe, the blameless and
chaste Krishna living under the protections of her lords, then wailed
aloud for the help of her husbands, saying, ‘Oh, let Jaya, and Jayanta,
and Vijaya and Jayatsena, and Jayatvala listen to my words. The Sutas are
taking me away. Let those illustrious Gandharvas endued with speed of
hand, the clatter of whose cars is loud and the twang of whose bowstrings
in the midst of the mighty conflict are heard like the roar of thunder,
listen to my words,--the Sutas are taking me away!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing those sorrowful words and lamentations
of Krishna, Bhima, without a moment’s reflection started up from his bed
and said, ‘I have heard, O Sairindhri the words thou hast spoken. Thou
hast, therefore, O timid lady, no more fear at the hands of the Sutas.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having said this, the mighty-armed Bhima
desirous of slaying the Kichakas, began to swell his body. And carefully
changing his attire, he went out of the palace by a wrong egress. And
climbing over a wall by the aid of a tree, he proceeded towards the
cemetery whither the Kichakas had gone. And having leapt over the wall,
and gone out of the excellent city, Bhima impetuously rushed to where the
Sutas were. And, O monarch, proceeding towards the funeral pyre he beheld
a large tree, tall as palmyra-palm, with gigantic shoulders and withered
top. And that slayer of foes grasping with his arms that tree measuring
ten Vyamas, uprooted it, even like an elephant, and placed it upon his
shoulders. And taking up that tree with trunk and branches and measuring
ten Vyamas, that mighty hero rushed towards the Sutas, like Yama himself,
mace in hand. And by the impetus of his rush[18] banians and peepals and
Kinsukas falling down on the earth lay in clusters. And beholding that
Gandharva approach them like a lion in fury, all the Sutas trembling with
fear and greatly distressed, became panic-struck. And they addressed each
other, saying, ‘Lo, the powerful Gandharva cometh hither, filled with
rage, and with an upraised tree in hand. Let Sairindhri, therefore, from
whom this danger of ours hath arisen, be set free.’ And beholding the
tree that had been uprooted by Bhimasena, they set Draupadi free and ran
breathlessly towards the city. And seeing them run away, Bhima, that
mighty son of the Wind-god, despatched, O foremost of kings, by means of
that tree, a hundred and five of them unto the abode of Yama, like the
wielder of the thunderbolt slaying the Danavas. And setting Draupadi free
from her bonds, he then, O king, comforted her. And that mighty-armed and
irrepressible Vrikodara, the son of Pandu, then addressed the distressed
princess of Panchala with face bathed in tears, saying, ‘Thus, O timid
one, are they slain that wrong thee without cause. Return, O Krishna, to
the city. Thou hast no longer any fear; I myself will go to the Virata’s
kitchen by another route.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “It was thus, O Bharata, that a hundred and five
of those Kichakas were slain. And their corpses lay on the ground, making
the place look like a great forest overspread with uprooted trees after a
hurricane. Thus fell those hundred and five Kichakas. And including
Virata’s general slain before, the slaughtered Sutas numbered one hundred
and six. And beholding that exceedingly wonderful feat, men and women
that assembled together, were filled with astonishment. And the power of
speech, O Bharata, was suspended in every one.”


Vaisampayana said, “And beholding the Sutas slain, the citizens went to
the king, and represented unto him what had happened, saying, ‘O king,
those mighty sons of the Sutas have all been slain by the Gandharvas.
Indeed, they lie scattered on the earth like huge peaks of mountains
riven by thunder. Sairindhri also, having been set free, returneth to thy
palace in the city. Alas, O king, if Sairindhri cometh, thy entire
kingdom will be endangered. Sairindhri is endued with great beauty; the
Gandharvas also here exceedingly powerful. Men again, without doubt, are
naturally sexual. Devise, therefore, O king, without delay, such means
that in consequence of wrongs done to Sairindhri, thy kingdom may not
meet with destruction.’ Hearing those words of theirs, Virata, that lord
of hosts, said unto them, ‘Do ye perform the last rites of the Sutas. Let
all the Kichakas be burnt, in one blazing pyre with gems and fragrant
unguents in profusion.’ And filled with fear, the king then addressed his
queen Sudeshna, saying, ‘When Sairindhri comes back, do thou tell her
these words from me, ‘Blessed be thou, O fair-faced Sairindhri. Go thou
whithersoever thou likest. The king hath been alarmed, O thou of graceful
hips, at the defeat already experienced at the hands of the Gandharvas.
Protected as thou art by the Gandharvas, I dare not personally say all
this to thee. A woman, however, cannot offend, and it is for this that I
tell thee all this through a woman.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus delivered by Bhimasena after the slaughter
of the Sutas, the intelligent and youthful Krishna relieved from all her
fears, washed her limbs and clothes in water, and proceeded towards the
city, like a doe frightened by a tiger. And beholding her, the citizens,
O king, afflicted with the fear of the Gandharvas fled in all directions.
And some of them went so far as to shut their eyes. And then, O king at
the gate of the kitchen, the princess of Panchala saw Bhimasena staying,
like an infuriate elephant of gigantic proportions. And looking upon him
with wonder-expanded eyes, Draupadi, by means of words intelligible to
them alone, said, ‘I bow unto that prince of the Gandharvas, who hath
rescued me.’ At these words of her, Bhima said, ‘Hearing these words of
hers in obedience to whom those persons were hitherto living in the city,
they will henceforth range here, regarding themselves as freed from the

Vaisampayana continued, “Then she beheld the mighty-armed Dhananjaya, in
the dancing-hall instructing king Virata’s daughters in dancing. And
issuing with Arjuna from the dancing-hall, all those damsels came to
Krishna who had arrived there, and who had been persecuted so sorely, all
innocent though she was. And they said, ‘By good luck also it is, O
Sairindhri, that thou hast been delivered from thy dangers. By good luck
it is that thou hast returned safe. And by good luck also it is that
those Sutas have been slain that had wronged thee, innocent though thou
art.’ Hearing this, Vrihannala said, ‘How hast thou, O Sairindhri, been
delivered? And how have those sinful wretches been slain? I wish to learn
all this from thee exactly as it occurred.’ Sairindhri replied, ‘O
blessed Vrihannala, always passing thy days happily in the apartments of
the girls, what concern hast thou with Sairindhri’s fate to say? Thou
hast no grief to bear that Sairindhri hath to bear! It is for this, that
thou askest me thus, distressed as I am in ridicule.’ Thereat Vrihannala
said, ‘O blessed one, Vrihannala also hath unparalleled sorrows of her
own. She hath become as low as a brute. Thou dost not, O girl, understand
this. I have lived with thee, and thou, too hast lived with us. When,
therefore, thou art afflicted with misery, who is it that will not, O
thou of beautiful hips, feel it? But no one can completely read another’s
heart. Therefore it is, O amiable one, that thou knowest not my heart!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then Draupadi, accompanied by those girls
entered the royal abode, desirous of appearing before Sudeshna. And when
she came before the queen, Virata’s wife addressed her at the command of
the king, saying, ‘Do thou, O Sairindhri, speedily go whithersoever thou
likest. The king, good betide thee, hath been filled with fear at this
discomfiture at the hands of the Gandharvas. Thou art, O thou of graceful
eye-brows, young and unparalleled on earth in beauty. Thou art, besides,
an object of desire with men. The Gandharvas again, are exceedingly
wrathful.’ Thereat Sairindhri said, ‘O beauteous lady, let the king
suffer me to live here for only thirteen days more. Without doubt, the
Gandharvas also will be highly obliged at this. They will then convey me
hence and do what would be agreeable to Virata. Without doubt, the king,
by doing this, with his friends, will reap great benefit.’”


Vaisampayana said, “At the slaughter of Kichaka and brothers, people, O
king, thinking of this terrible feat, were filled with surprise. And in
the city and the provinces it was generally bruited about that for
bravery the king’s Vallava and Kichaka were both mighty warriors. The
wicked Kichaka, however, had been an oppressor of men and a dishonourer
of other people’s wives. And it was for this that wicked of sinful soul
had been slain by the Gandharvas. And it was thus, O king, that people
began to speak, from province to province of the invincible Kichaka, that
slayer of hostile ranks.

“Meanwhile, the spies employed by Dhritarashtra’s son, having searched
various villages and towns and kingdoms and done all that they had been
commanded to do and completed their examination, in the manner directed,
of the countries indicated in their orders, returned to Nagarupa,
gratified with at least one thing that they had learnt.[20] And seeing
Dhritarashtra’s son king Duryodhana of the Kuru race seated in his court
with Drona and Karna and Kripa, with the high-souled Bhishma, his own
brothers, and those great warriors--the Trigartas, they addressed him,
saying, ‘O lord of men, great hath been the care always bestowed by us in
the search after the sons of Pandu in that mighty forest. Searched have
we through the solitary wilderness abounding with deer and other animals
and overgrown with trees and creepers of diverse kind. Searched have we
also in arbours of matted woods and plants and creepers of every species,
but we have failed in discovering that track by which Pritha’s son of
irrepressible energy may have gone. Searched have we in these and other
places for their foot-prints. Searched have we closely, O king, on
mountain tops and in inaccessible fastnesses, in various kingdoms and
provinces teeming with people, in encampments and cities. No trace have
yet been found of the sons of Pandu. Good betide thee, O bull among men,
it seems that they have perished without leaving a mark behind. O
foremost of warriors, although we followed in the track of those
warriors, yet, O best of men, we soon lost their footprints and do not
know their present residence. O lord of men, for some time we followed in
the wake of their charioteers. And making our inquiries duly, we truly
ascertained what we desired to know. O slayer of foes, the charioteers
reached Dwaravati without the sons of Pritha among them. O king, neither
the sons of Pandu, nor the chaste Krishna, are in that city of Yadavas. O
bull of the Bharata race, we have not been able to discover either their
track or their present abode. Salutations to thee, they are gone for
good. We are acquainted with the disposition of the sons of Pandu and
know something of the feats achieved by them. It behoveth thee,
therefore, O lord of men, to give us instructions, O monarch, as to what
we should next do in the search after the sons of Pandu. O hero, listen
also to these agreeable words of ours, promising great good to thee. King
Matsya’s commander, Kichaka of wicked soul, by whom the Trigartas, O
monarch, were repeatedly vanquished and slain with mighty force, now
lieth low on the ground with all his brothers, slain, O monarch, by
invisible Gandharvas during the hours of darkness, O thou of unfading
glory. Having heard this delightful news about the discomfiture of our
enemies, we have been exceedingly gratified, O Kauravya. Do thou now
ordain what should next be done.’”


(Go-harana Parva)

Vaisampayana said, “Having listened to these words of his spies, king
Duryodhana reflected inwardly for some time and then addressed his
courtiers, saying, ‘It is difficult to ascertain the course of events
definitely. Discern ye all, therefore, whither the sons of Pandu have
gone, of this thirteenth year which they are to pass undiscovered by us
all, the greater part hath already expired. What remains is by much the
smaller. If, indeed, the sons of Pandu can pass undiscovered what remains
of this year, devoted to the vow of truth as they are, they will then
have fulfilled their pledge. They will then return like mighty elephants
with temporal juice trickling down, or like snakes of virulent poison.
Filled with wrath, they will, without doubt, be inflicters of terrible
chastisement on the Kurus. It behoveth ye, therefore, to make such
efforts without loss of time as may induce the sons of Pandu, acquainted
as they are with the proprieties of time, and staying as they now are in
painful disguise, to re-enter the woods suppressing their rage. Indeed,
adopt ye such means as may remove all causes of quarrel and anxiety from
the kingdom, making it tranquil and foeless and incapable of sustaining a
diminution of territory.’ Hearing these words of Duryodhana, Karna said,
‘Let other spies, abler and more cunning, and capable of accomplishing
their object, quickly go hence, O Bharata. Let them, well-disguised,
wander through swelling kingdoms and populous provinces, prying into
assemblies of the learned and delightful retreats of provinces. In the
inner apartments of palaces, in shrines and holy spots, in mines and
diverse other regions, the sons of Pandu should be searched after with
well-directed eagerness. Let the sons of Pandu who are living in disguise
be searched after by well-skilled spies in large numbers, devoted to
their work, themselves well-disguised, and all well-acquainted with the
objects of their search. Let the search be made on the banks of rivers,
in holy regions, in villages and towns, in retreats of ascetics, in
delightful mountains and mountain-caves.’ When Karna ceased, Duryodhana’s
second brother Dussasana, wedded to a sinful disposition, then addressed
his eldest brother and said, ‘O monarch, O lord of men, let those spies
only in whom we have confidence, receiving their rewards in advance, once
more go after the search. This and what else hath been said by Karna have
our fullest approval. Let all the spies engage themselves in the search
according to the directions already given. Let these and others engage in
the search from province to province according to approved rules. It is
my belief, however, that the track the Pandavas have followed or their
present abode or occupation will not be discovered. Perhaps, they are
closely concealed; perhaps, they have gone to the other side of the
ocean. Or, perhaps, proud as they are of their strength and Courage, they
have been devoured by wild beasts; or perhaps, having been overtaken by
some unusual danger, they have perished for eternity. Therefore, O prince
of the Kuru race, dispelling all anxieties from thy heart, achieve what
thou wilt, always acting according to thy energy.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Endued with mighty energy and possessed of great
discernment, Drona then said, ‘Persons like the sons of Pandu never
perish nor undergo discomfiture. Brave and skilled in every science,
intelligent and with senses under control, virtuous and grateful and
obedient to the virtuous Yudhishthira, ever following in the wake of
their eldest brother who is conversant with the conclusions of policy and
virtue and profit, who is attached to them as a father, and who strictly
adhereth to virtue and is firm in truth,--persons like them that are thus
devoted to their illustrious and royal brother, who gifted with great
intelligence, never injureth any body and who in his turn himself obeyeth
his younger brothers, never perish in this way. Why, then, should not
(Yudhishthira) the son of Pritha possessing a knowledge of policy, be
able to restore the prosperity of his brothers who are so obedient and
devoted and high-souled? It is for this that they are carefully waiting
for the arrival of their opportunity. Men such as these never perish.
This is what I see by my intellect. Do, therefore, quickly and without
loss of time, what should now be done, after proper reflection. And let
also the abode which the sons of Pandu with souls under control as
regards every purpose of life, are to occupy, be now settled. Heroic and
sinless and possessed of ascetic merit, the Pandavas are difficult to be
discovered (within the period of non-discovery). Intelligent and
possessed of every virtue, devoted to truth and versed in the principles
of policy, endued with purity and holiness, and the embodiment of
immeasurable energy, the son of Pritha is capable of consuming (his foes)
by a glance alone of his eyes. Knowing all this, do what is proper. Let
us, therefore, once more search after them, sending Brahmanas and
Charanas, ascetics crowned with success, and others of this kind who may
have a knowledge of those heroes!’”


Vaisampayana said, “Then that grandsire of the Bharatas, Bhishma the son
of Santanu, conversant with the Vedas, acquainted with the proprieties of
time and place, and possessing a knowledge of every duty of morality,
after the conclusion of Drona’s speech, applauded the words of the
preceptor and spake unto the Bharatas for their benefit these words
consistent with virtue, expressive of his attachment to the virtuous
Yudhishthira, rarely spoken by men that are dishonest, and always meeting
with the approbation of the honest. And the words that Bhishma spake were
thoroughly impartial and worshipped by the wise. And the grandsire of the
Kurus said, ‘The words that the regenerate Drona acquainted with the
truth of every affair hath uttered, are approved by me. I have no
hesitation in saying so. Endued with every auspicious mark, observant of
virtuous vows, possessed of Vedic lore, devoted to religious observances,
conversant with various sciences, obedient to the counsels of the aged,
adhering to the vow of truth, acquainted with the proprieties of time,
observant of the pledge they have given (in respect of their exile), pure
in their behaviour, ever adhering to the duties of the Kshatriya order,
always obedient to Kesava, high-souled, possessed of great strength, and
ever bearing the burthens of the wise, those heroic ones can never wither
under misfortune. Aided by their own energy, sons of Pandu who are now
leading a life of concealment in obedience to virtue, will surely never
perish. It is even this that my mind surmiseth. Therefore, O Bharata, I
am for employing the aid of honest counsel in our behaviour towards the
sons of Pandu. It would not be the policy of any wise man to cause them
to be discovered now by means of spies,[21] what we should do unto the
sons of Pandu, I shall say, reflecting with the aid of the intellect.
Know that I shall say nothing from ill will to thee. People like me
should never give such counsels to him that is dishonest, for only
counsels (like those I would give) should be offered unto them that are
honest. Counsels, however, that are evil, should under no circumstances
be offered. He, O child, that is devoted to truth and obedient to the
aged, he, indeed, that is wise, while speaking in the midst of an
assembly, should under all circumstances speak the truth, if the
acquisition of virtue be an object with him. I should, therefore, say
that I think differently from all those people here, in respect of the
abode of Yudhishthira the just in this the thirteenth year of his exile.
The ruler, O child, of the city or the province where king Yudhishthira
resides cannot have any misfortune. Charitable and liberal and humble and
modest must the people be of the country where king Yudhishthira resides.
Agreeable in speech, with passions under control, observant of truth,
cheerful, healthy, pure in conduct, and skilful in work must the people
be of the country where king Yudhishthira resides. The people of the
place, where Yudhishthira is, cannot be envious or malicious, or vain, or
proud, but must all adhere to their respective duties. Indeed, in the
place where Yudhishthira resides, Vedic hymns will be chanted all around,
sacrifices will be performed, the last full libations will always be
poured, [22] and gifts to Brahmanas will always be in profusion. There
the clouds, without doubt, pour abundant rain, and furnished with good
harvest the country will ever be without fear. There the paddy will not
be without grain, fruits will not be bereft of juice, floral garlands
will not be without fragrance, and the conversation of men will always be
full of agreeable words. There where king Yudhishthira resides, the
breezes will be delicious, the meetings of men will always be friendly,
and cause of fear there will be none. There kine will be plentiful,
without any of them being lean-fleshed or weak, and milk and curds and
butter will all be savoury and nutritious. There where king Yudhishthira
resides, every kind of corn will be full of nutrition and every edible
full of flavour. There where king Yudhishthira resides, the objects of
all the senses, viz.,--taste, touch, smell, and hearing, will be endued
with excellent attributes. There where king Yudhishthira resides, the
sights and scenes will be gladdening. And the regenerate ones of that
place will be virtuous and steady in observing their respective duties.
Indeed, in the country where the sons of Pandu may have taken up their
abode during this thirteenth year of their exile, the people will be
contented and cheerful, pure in conduct and without misery of any kind.
Devoted to gods and guests and the worship of these with their whole
soul, they will be fond of giving away, and filled with great energy,
they will all be observant of eternal virtue. There where king
Yudhishthira resides, the people, eschewing all that is evil, will be
desirous of achieving only what is good. Always observant of sacrifices
and pure vows, and hating untruth in speech, the people of the place
where king Yudhishthira may reside will always be desirous of obtaining
what is good, auspicious and beneficial. There where Yudhishthira
resides, the people will certainly be desirous of achieving what is good,
and their hearts will always incline towards virtue, and their vows being
agreeable they themselves are ever-engaged in the acquisition of
religious merit. O child, that son of Pritha in whom are intelligence and
charity, the highest tranquillity and undoubted forgiveness, modesty and
prosperity, and fame and great energy and a love for all creatures, is
incapable of being found out (now that he hath concealed himself) even by
Brahmanas, let alone ordinary persons. The wise Yudhishthira is living in
close disguise in regions whose characteristics I have described.
Regarding his excellent mode of life, I dare not say anything more.
Reflecting well upon all this, do without loss of time what thou mayst
think to be beneficial, O prince of the Kuru race, if indeed, thou hast
any faith in me.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Then Saradwata’s son, Kripa said, ‘What the aged
Bhishma hath said concerning the Pandavas is reasonable, suited to the
occasion, consistent with virtue and profit, agreeable to the ear,
fraught with sound reason, and worthy of him. Listen also to what I would
say on this subject. It behoveth thee to ascertain the track they have
followed and their abode also by means of spies,[23] and to adopt that
policy which may bring about thy welfare. O child, he that is solicitous
of his welfare should not disregard even an ordinary foe. What shall I
say, then, O child, of the Pandavas who are thorough masters of all
weapons in battle. When, therefore, the time cometh for the reappearance
of the high-souled Pandavas, who, having entered the forest,[24] are now
passing their days in close disguise, thou shouldst ascertain thy
strength both in thy own kingdom and in those of other kings. Without
doubt, the return of the Pandavas is at hand. When their promised term of
exile is over, the illustrious and mighty sons of Pritha, endued with
immeasurable prowess, will come hither bursting with energy. Do thou,
therefore, in order to conclude an advantageous treaty with them, have
recourse to sound policy and address thyself to increase thy forces and
improve the treasury. O child, ascertaining all these, reckon thou thy
own strength in respect of all thy allies weak and strong.[25]
Ascertaining the efficiency, and weakness, and indifference of thy
forces, as also who amongst them are well-affected and who are
disaffected, we should either fight the foe or make treaty with him.
Having recourse to the arts of conciliation, disunion, chastisement,
bribery, presents and fair behaviour, attack thy foes and subdue the weak
by might, and win over thy allies and troops and by soft speeches. When
thou hast (by these means) strengthened thy army and filled thy treasury,
entire success will be thine. When thou hast done all this, thou wilt be
able to fight with powerful enemies that may present themselves, let
alone the sons of Pandu deficient in troops and animals of their own. By
adopting all these expedients according to the customs of thy order, thou
wilt, O foremost of men, attain enduring happiness in due time!’”


Vaisampayana said, “Discomfited before, O monarch, many a time and oft
by Matsya’s Suta Kichaka aided by the Matsyas and the Salyas, the mighty
king of the Trigartas, Susarman, who owned innumerable cars, regarding
the opportunity to be a favourable one, then spoke the following words
without losing a moment. And, O monarch, forcibly vanquished along with
his relatives by the mighty Kichaka, king Susarman, eyeing Karna in
askance, spoke these words unto Duryodhana, ‘My kingdom hath many a time
been forcibly invaded by the king of the Matsyas. The mighty Kichaka was
that king’s generalissimo. Crooked and wrathful and of wicked soul, of
prowess famed over all the world, sinful in deeds and highly cruel, that
wretch, however, hath been slain by the Gandharvas. Kichaka being dead,
king Virata, shorn of pride and his refuge gone, will, I imagine, lose
all courage I think, we ought now to invade that kingdom, if it pleases
thee, O sinless one, as also the illustrious Karna and all the Kauravas.
The accident that hath happened is, I imagine, a favourable one for us.
Let us, therefore, repair to Virata’s kingdom abounding in corn. We will
appropriate his gems and other wealth of diverse kinds, and let us go to
share with each other as regards his villages and kingdom. Or, invading
his city by force, let us carry off by thousands his excellent kine of
various species. Uniting, O king, the forces of the Kauravas and the
Trigartas, let us lift his cattle in droves. Or, uniting our forces well,
we will check his power by forcing him to sue for peace. Or, destroying
his entire host, we will bring Matsya under subjection. Having brought
him under subjection by just means, we will live in our kingdom happily,
while thy power also will, without doubt, be enhanced.’ Hearing these
words of Susarman, Karna addressed the king, saying, ‘Susarman hath
spoken well; the opportunity is favourable and promises to be profitable
to us. Therefore, if it pleases thee, O sinless one, let us, drawing up
our forces in battle array and marshalling them in divisions, speedily
set out. Or, let the expedition be managed as Saradwata’s son Kripa, the
preceptor Drona, and the wise and aged grandsire of the Kurus may think.
Consulting with each other, let us, O lord of earth, speedily set out to
attain our end. What business have we with the sons of Pandu, destitute
as they are of wealth, might, and prowess? They have either disappeared
for good or have gone to the abode of Yama. We will, O king, repair
without anxiety to Virata’s city, and plunder his cattle and other wealth
of diverse kinds.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Accepting these words of Karna, the son of
Surya, king Duryodhana speedily commanded his brother Dussasana, born
immediately after him and always obedient to his wishes, saying,
‘Consulting with the elders, array without delay, our forces. We will,
with all the Kauravas go to the appointed place. Let also the mighty
warrior, king Susarman, accompanied by a sufficient force with vehicles
and animals, set out with the Trigartas for the dominions of Matsyas. And
let Susarman proceed first, carefully concealing his intention. Following
in their wake, we will set out the day after in close array, for the
prosperous dominions of king Matsya. Let the Trigartas, however, suddenly
repair to the city of Virata, and coming upon the cowherds, seize that
immense wealth (of kine). We also marching in two divisions, will seize
thousands of excellent kine furnished with auspicious marks.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then, O Lord of earth, those warriors, the
Trigartas, accompanied by their infantry of terrible prowess, marched
towards the south-eastern direction, intending to wage hostilities with
Virata from the desire of seizing his kine. And Susarman set out on the
seventh day of the dark fortnight for seizing the kine. And then, O king,
on the eighth day following of the dark fortnight, the Kauravas also
accompanied by all their troops, began to seize the kine by thousands.”


Vaisampayana said, “O mighty king, entering into king Virata’s service,
and dwelling in disguise in his excellent city, the high-souled Pandavas
of immeasurable prowess, completed the promised period of non-discovery.
And after Kichaka had been slain, that slayer of hostile heroes, the
mighty king Virata began to rest his hopes on the sons of Kunti. And it
was on the expiry of the thirteenth year of their exile, O Bharata, that
Susarman seized Virata’s cattle by thousands. And when the cattle had
been seized, the herdsman of Virata came with great speed to the city,
and saw his sovereign, the king of Matsyas, seated on the throne in the
midst of wise councillors, and those bulls among men, the sons of Pandu,
and surrounded by brave warriors decked with ear-rings and bracelets. And
appearing before that enhancer of his dominion--King Virata seated in
court--the herdsman bowed down unto him, and addressed him, saying, ‘O
foremost of kings, defeating and humiliating us in battle along with our
friends the Trigartas are seizing thy cattle by hundreds and by
thousands. Do thou, therefore, speedily rescue them. Oh, see that they
are not lost to thee.’ Hearing these words, the king arrayed for battle
the Matsya force abounding in cars and elephants and horses and infantry
and standards. And kings and princes speedily put on, each in its proper
place,[26] their shining and beautiful armour worthy of being worn by
heroes. And Virata’s beloved brother, Satanika, put on a coat of mail
made of adamantine steel, adorned with burnished gold. And Madiraksha,
next in birth to Satanika, put on a strong coat of mail plated with
gold[27] and capable of resisting every weapon. And the coat of mail that
the king himself of the Matsyas put on was invulnerable and decked with a
hundred suns, a hundred circles, a hundred spots, and a hundred eyes. And
the coat of mail that Suryadatta[28] put on was bright as the sun, plated
with gold, and broad as a hundred lotuses of the fragrant (Kahlara)
species. And the coat of mail that Virata’s eldest son, the heroic
Sanksha, put on was impenetrable and made of burnished steel, and decked
with a hundred eyes of gold. And it was thus that those god-like and
mighty warriors by hundreds, furnished with weapons, and eager for
battle, each donned his corselet. And then they yoked unto their
excellent cars of white-hue steeds equipped in mail. And then was
hoisted Matsya’s glorious standard on his excellent car decked with gold
and resembling the sun or the moon in its effulgence. And other Kshatriya
warriors also raised on their respective cars gold-decked standards of
various shapes and devices. And king Matsya then addressed his brother
Satanika born immediately after him, saying, ‘Kanka and Vallava and
Tantripala and Damagranthi of great energy will, as it appears to me
fight, without doubt. Give thou unto them cars furnished with banners and
let them case their persons in beautiful coats of mail that should be
both invulnerable and easy to wear. And let them also have weapons.
Bearing such martial forms and possessed of arms resembling the trunk of
mighty elephants, I can never persuade myself that they cannot fight.’
Hearing these words of the king, Satanika, O monarch, immediately ordered
cars for those sons of Pritha, viz., the royal Yudhishthira, and Bhima,
and Nakula, and Sahadeva, and commanded by the king, the charioteers,
with cheerful hearts and keeping loyalty in view, very soon got cars
ready (for the Pandavas). And those repressers of foes then donned those
beautiful coats of mail, invulnerable and easy to wear, that Virata had
ordered for those heroes of spotless fame. And mounted on cars yoked with
good steeds, those smiters of hostile ranks, those foremost of men, the
sons of Pritha, set out with cheerful hearts. Indeed, those mighty
warriors skilled in fight, those bulls of the Kuru race and sons of
Pandu, those four heroic brothers possessed of prowess incapable of being
baffled, mounting on cars decked with gold, together set out, following
Virata’s wake. And infuriate elephants of terrible mien, full sixty years
of age, with shapely tusks and rent temples and juice trickling down and
looking (on that account) like cloud pouring rain and mounted by trained
warriors skilled in fight, followed the king like unto moving hills. And
the principal warriors of Matsya who cheerfully followed the king had
eight thousand cars, a thousand elephants and sixty thousand horses. And,
O bull among the Bharatas, that force of Virata, O king, as it marched
forth marking the footprints of the cattle looked exceedingly beautiful.
And on its march that foremost of armies owned by Virata, crowded with
soldiers armed with strong weapons, and abounding in elephants, horses
and cars, looked really splendid.”


Vaisampayana said, “Marching out of the city, those heroic smiters the
Matsyas, arrayed in order of battle, overtook the Trigartas when the sun
had passed the meridian. And both excited to fury and both desirous of
having the king, the mighty Trigartas and the Matsyas, irrepressible in
battle, sent up loud roars. And then the terrible and infuriate elephants
ridden over by the skilful combatants of both sides were urged on with
spiked clubs and hooks. And the encounter, O king, that took place when
the sun was low in the horizon, between the infantry and cavalry and
chariots and elephants of both parties, was like unto that of old between
the gods and the Asuras, terrible and fierce and sufficient for making
one’s hair stand on end and calculated to increase the population of
Yama’s kingdom. And as the combatants rushed against one another, smiting
and slashing, thick clouds of dust began to rise, so that nothing could
be discovered. And covered with the dust raised by the contending armies,
birds began to drop down on the earth. And the sun himself disappeared
behind the thick cloud of arrows shot, and the firmament looked bright as
if with myriads of the fireflies. And shifting their bows, the staves of
which were decked with gold, from one hand to another, those heroes began
to strike each other down, discharging their arrows right and left. And
cars encountered cars, and foot-soldiers fought with foot-soldiers, and
horse-men with horsemen, and elephants with mighty elephants. And they
furiously encountered one another with swords and axes, bearded darts and
javelins, and iron clubs. And although, O king, those mighty-armed
warriors furiously assailed one another in that conflict, yet neither
party succeeded in prevailing over the other. And severed heads, some
with beautiful noses, some with upper lips deeply gashed, some decked
with ear-rings, and some divided with wounds about the well-trimmed hair
were seen rolling on the ground covered with dust. And soon the field of
battle was overspread with the limbs of Kshatriya warriors, cut off by
means of arrows and lying like trunks of Sala trees. And scattered over
with heads decked in ear-rings, and sandal-besmeared arms looking like
the bodies of snakes, the field of battle became exceedingly beautiful.
And as cars encountered cars, and horsemen encountered horsemen, and
foot-soldiers fought with foot-soldiers, and elephants met with
elephants, the frightful dust soon became drenched with torrents of
blood. And some amongst the combatants began to swoon away, and the
warriors began to fight reckless of consideration of humanity, friendship
and relationship. And both their course and sight obstructed by the
arrowy shower, vultures began to alight on the ground. But although those
strong-armed combatants furiously fought with one another, yet the heroes
of neither party succeeded in routing their antagonists. And Satanika
having slain a full hundred of the enemy and Visalaksha full four
hundred, both those mighty warriors penetrated into the heart of the
great Trigarta host. And having entered into the thick of the Trigarta
host, those famous and mighty heroes began to deprive their antagonists
of their senses by causing a closer conflict to set in--a conflict, in
which the combatants seized one another by the hair and tore one another
with their nails.[29] And eyeing the point where the cars of the
Trigartas had been mustered in strong numbers, those heroes at last
directed their attack towards it. And that foremost of car-warriors, king
Virata also, with Suryadatta in his van and Madiraksha in his rear,
having destroyed in that conflict five hundred cars, eight hundred
horses, and five warriors on great cars, displayed various skilful
manoeuvres on his car on that field of battle. And at last the king came
upon the ruler of the Trigartas mounted on a golden chariot. And those
high-souled and powerful warriors, desirous of fighting, rushed roaring
against each like two bulls in a cow-pen. Then that bull among men,
irrepressible in battle, Susarman, the king of the Trigartas, challenged
Matsya to a single combat on car. Then those warriors excited to fury
rushed against each other on their cars and began to shower their arrows
upon each other like clouds pouring torrents of rain.[30] And enraged
with each other, those fierce warriors, both skilled in weapons, both
wielding swords and darts and maces, then moved about (on the field of
battle) assailing each other with whetted arrows. Then king Virata
pierced Susarman with ten shafts and each of his four horses also with
five shafts. And Susarman also, irresistible in battle and conversant
with fatal weapons, pierced king of Matsya with fifty whetted shafts. And
then, O mighty monarch, in consequence of the dust on the field of
battle, the soldiers of both Susarman and Matsya’s king could not
distinguish one another.”


Vaisampayana said, “Then, O Bharata, when the world was enveloped in
dust and the gloom of night, the warriors of both sides, without breaking
the order of battle, desisted for a while.[31] And then, dispelling the
darkness the moon arose illumining the night and gladdening the hearts of
the Kshatriya warriors. And when everything became visible, the battle
once more began. And it raged on so furiously that the combatants could
not distinguish one another. And then Trigarta’s lord, Susarman with his
younger brother, and accompanied by all his cars, rushed towards the king
of Matsya. And descending from their cars, those bulls among Kshatriyas,
the (royal) brothers, mace in hand, rushed furiously towards the cars of
the foe. And the hostile hosts fiercely assailed each other with maces
and swords and scimitars, battle-axes and bearded darts with keen edges
and points of excellent temper. And king Susarman, the lord of the
Trigartas having by his energy oppressed and defeated the whole army of
the Matsyas, impetuously rushed towards Virata himself endued with great
energy. And the two brothers having severally slain Virata’s two steeds
and his charioteer, as also those soldiers that protected his rear, took
him captive alive, when deprived of his car. Then afflicting him sorely,
like a lustful man afflicting a defenceless damsel, Susarman placed
Virata on his own car, and speedily rushed out of the field. And when the
powerful Virata, deprived of his car, was taken captive, the Matsyas,
harrassed solely by the Trigartas, began to flee in fear in all
directions. And beholding them panic-stricken, Kunti’s son, Yudhishthira,
addressed that subduer of foes, the mighty-armed Bhima, saying, ‘The king
of the Matsyas hath been taken by the Trigartas. Do thou, O mighty-armed
one, rescue him, so that he may not fall under the power of the enemy. As
we have lived happily in Virata’s city, having every desire of ours
gratified, it behoveth thee, O Bhimasena, to discharge that debt (by
liberating the king).’ Thereat Bhimasena replied, ‘I will liberate him, O
king, at thy command. Mark the feat I achieve (today) in battling with
the foe, relying solely on the might of my arms. Do thou, O king, stay
aside, along with our brothers and witness my prowess today. Uprooting
this mighty tree of huge trunk looking like a mace, I will rout the

Vaisampayana continued, “Beholding Bhima casting his eyes on that tree
like a mad elephant, the heroic king Yudhishthira the just spake unto his
brother, saying, ‘Do not, O Bhima, commit such a rash act. Let the tree
stand there. Thou must not achieve such feats in a super-human manner by
means of that tree, for if thou dost, the people, O Bharata, will
recognise thee and say, This is Bhima. Take thou, therefore, some human
weapon such as a bow (and arrows), or a dart, or a sword, or a
battle-axe. And taking therefore, O Bhima, some weapon that is human,
liberate thou the king without giving anybody the means of knowing thee
truly. The twins endued with great strength will defend thy wheels.
Fighting together, O child, liberate the king of the Matsyas!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, the mighty Bhimasena endued
with great speed, quickly took up an excellent bow and impetuously shot
from it a shower of arrows, thick as the downpour of a rain-charged
cloud. And Bhima then rushed furiously towards Susarman of terrible
deeds, and assuring Virata with the words--‘O good king!’ [32] said unto the
lord of the Trigartas,--‘Stay! Stay!’ Seeing Bhima like unto Yama himself
in his rear, saying, ‘Stay! Stay! Do thou witness this mighty feat,’--this
combat that is at hand!--the bull among warriors, Susarman, seriously
considered (the situation), and taking up his bow turned back, along with
his brothers. Within the twinkling of an eye, Bhima destroyed those cars
that sought to oppose him. And soon again hundreds of thousands of cars
and elephants and horses and horsemen and brave and fierce bowmen were
overthrown by Bhima in the very sight of Virata. And the hostile infantry
also began to be slaughtered by the illustrious Bhima, mace in hand. And
beholding that terrible onslaught, Susarman, irrepressible in fight,
thought within himself, ‘My brother seems to have already succumbed in
the midst of his mighty host. Is my army going to be annihilated?’ And
drawing his bow-string to his ear Susarman then turned back and began to
shoot keen-edged shafts incessantly. And seeing the Pandavas return to
the charge on their car, the Matsya warriors of mighty host, urging on
their steeds, shot excellent weapons for grinding the Trigarta soldiers.
And Virata’s son also, exceedingly exasperated began to perform
prodigious fears of valour. And Kunti’s son Yudhishthira slew a thousand
(of the foe), and Bhima showed the abode of Yama unto seven thousand. And
Nakula sent seven hundred (to their last account) by means of his shafts.
And powerful Sahadeva also, commanded by Yudhishthira, slew three hundred
brave warriors. And having slain such numbers, that fierce and mighty
warrior, Yudhishthira, with weapons upraised, rushed against Susarman.
And rushing impetuously at Susarman, that foremost of car-warriors, king
Yudhishthira, assailed him with vollies of shafts. And Susarman also, in
great rage, quickly pierced Yudhishthira with nine arrows, and each of
his four steeds with four arrows. Then, O king, Kunti’s son Bhima of
quick movements, approaching Susarman crushed his steeds. And having
slain also those soldiers that protected his rear, he dragged from the
car his antagonist’s charioteer to the ground. And seeing the king of
Trigarta’s car without a driver, the defender of his car-wheels, the
famous and brave Madiraksha speedily came to his aid. And thereat,
leaping down from Susarman’s car, and securing the latter’s mace the
powerful Virata ran in pursuit of him. And though old, he moved on the
field, mace in hand, even like a lusty youth. And beholding Susarman flee
Bhima addressed him, saying, ‘Desist, O Prince! This flight of thine is
not proper! With this prowess of thine, how couldst thou wish to carry
off the cattle by force? How also, forsaking thy follower, dost thou
droop so amidst foes?’ Thus addressed by Pritha’s son, the mighty
Susarman, that lord of countless cars saying unto Bhima, ‘Stay!
Stay!’--suddenly turned round and rushed at him. Then Bhima, the son of
Pandu, leaping down from his car, as he alone could do,[33] rushed
forward with great coolness, desirous of taking Susarman’s life. And
desirous of seizing Trigarta’s king advancing towards him, the mighty
Bhimasena rushed impetuously towards him, even like a lion rushing at a
small deer. And advancing impetuously, the mighty-armed Bhima seized
Susarman by the hair, and lifting him up in wrath, dashed him down on the
ground. And as he lay crying in agony, the mighty-armed Bhima kicked him
at the head, and placing his knee on his breast dealt him severe blows.
And sorely afflicted with that kicking, the king of Trigartas became
senseless. And when the king of the Trigartas deprived of his car, had
been seized thus, the whole Trigarta army stricken with panic, broke and
fled in all directions, and the mighty sons of Pandu, endued with modesty
and observant of vows and relying on the might of their own arms, after
having vanquished Susarman, and rescued the kine as well as other kinds
of wealth and having thus dispelled Virata’s anxiety, stood together
before that monarch. And Bhimasena then said, ‘This wretch given to
wicked deeds doth not deserve to escape me with life. But what can I do?
The king is so lenient!’ And then taking Susarman by the neck as he was
lying on the ground insensible and covered with dust, and binding him
fast, Pritha’s son Vrikodara placed him on his car, and went to where
Yudhishthira was staying in the midst of the field. And Bhima then showed
Susarman unto the monarch. And beholding Susarman in that plight, that
tiger among men king Yudhishthira smilingly addressed Bhima--that
ornament of battle,--saying, ‘Let this worst of men be set free.’ Thus
addressed, Bhima spoke unto the mighty Susarman, saying, ‘If, O wretch,
thou wishest to live, listen to those words of mine. Thou must say in
every court and assembly of men,--“I am a slave.” On this condition only I
will grant thee thy life. Verily, this is the law about the vanquished.’
Thereupon his elder brother affectionately addressed Bhima, saying, ‘If
thou regardest us as an authority, liberate this wicked wight. He hath
already become king Virata’s slave.’ And turning then to Susarman, he
said, ‘Thou art freed. Go thou a free man, and never act again in this


Vaisampayana said, “Thus addressed by Yudhishthira Susarman was
overwhelmed with shame and hung down his head. And liberated (from
slavery), he went to king Virata, and having saluted the monarch, took
his departure. And the Pandavas also replying on the might of their own
arms, and endued with modesty and observant of vows, having slain their
enemies and liberated Susarman, passed that night happily on the field of
battle. And Virata gratified those mighty warriors, the sons of Kunti,
possessed of super-human prowess with wealth and honour. And Virata said,
‘All these gems of mine are now as much mine as yours. Do ye according to
your pleasure live here happily. And ye smiter of foes in battle, I will
bestow on you damsels decked with ornaments, wealth in plenty, and other
things that ye may like. Delivered from perils today by your prowess, I
am now crowned with victory. Do ye all become the lords of the Matsyas.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “And when the king of the Matsyas had addressed
them thus, those descendants of the Kurus with Yudhishthira at their
head, joining their hands, severally replied unto him saying, ‘We are
well-pleased with all that thou sayest, O monarch. We, however, have been
much gratified that thou hast today been freed from thy foes.’ Thus
answered, that foremost of kings, Virata the lord of the Matsyas, again
addressed Yudhishthira, saying, ‘Come, we will install thee in
sovereignty of the Matsyas. And we will also bestow on thee things that
are rare on earth and are objects of desire, for thou deservest
everything at our hands. O foremost of Brahmanas of the Vaiyaghra order I
will bestow on thee gems and kine and gold and rubies and pearls. I bow
unto thee. It is owing to thee that I once more behold today my sons and
kingdom. Afflicted and threatened as I had been with disaster and danger,
it is through thy prowess that I have not succumbed to the foe.’ Then
Yudhishthira again addressed the Matsyas, saying, ‘Well-pleased are we
with the delightful words that thou hast spoken. Mayst thou be ever
happy, always practising humanity towards all creatures. Let messengers
now, at thy command, speedily repair into the city, in order to
communicate the glad tidings to our friends, and proclaim thy victory.’
Hearing these words of him, king Matsya ordered the messengers, saying,
‘Do ye repair to the city and proclaim my victory in battle. And let
damsels and courtesans, decked in ornaments, come out of the city with
every kind of musical instruments.’ Hearing this command uttered by the
king of the Matsyas, the men, laying the mandate on their head, all
departed with cheerful hearts. And having repaired to the city that very
night, they proclaimed at the hour of sunrise the victory of the king
about the city-gates.”


Vaisampayana said, “When the king of the Matsyas, anxious of recovering
the kine, had set out in pursuit of the Trigartas, Duryodhana with his
counsellors invaded the dominions of Virata. And Bhishma and Drona, and
Karna, and Kripa acquainted with the best of weapons, Aswatthaman, and
Suvala’s son, and Dussasana, O lord of men, and Vivinsati and Vikarna
and Chitrasena endued with great energy, and Durmukha and Dussaha,--these
and many other great warriors, coming upon the Matsya dominion speedily
drove off the cowherds of king Virata and forcibly took away the kine.
And the Kauravas, surrounding all sides with a multitude of cars, seized
sixty thousands of kine. And loud was the yell of woe set up by the
cowherds smitten by those warriors in that terrible conflict. And the
chief of the cowherds, greatly affrighted speedily mounted on a chariot
and set out for the city, bewailing in affliction. And entering the city
of the king, he proceeded to the palace, and speedily alighting from the
chariot, got in for relating (what had happened). And beholding the proud
son of Matsya, named Bhuminjaya, he told him everything about the seizure
of the royal kine. And he said, ‘the Kauravas are taking away sixty
thousand kine. Rise, therefore, O enhancer of the kingdom’s glory, for
bringing back thy cattle. O prince, if thou art desirous of achieving (the
kingdom’s) good set out thyself without loss of time. Indeed, the king of
the Matsyas left thee in the empty city. The king (thy father) boasteth
of thee in court, saying, “My son, equal unto me, is a hero and is the
supporter of (the glory of) my race. My son is a warrior skilled in
arrows and weapons and is always possessed of great courage.”--Oh, let
the words of that lord of men be true! O chief of herd-owners, bring thou
back the kine after vanquishing the Kurus, and consume thou their troops
with the terrific energy of thy arrows. Do thou like a leader of
elephants rushing at a herd, pierce the ranks of the foe with straight
arrows of golden wings, discharged from thy bow. Thy bow is even like a
Vina. Its two ends represent the ivory pillows; its string, the main
chord; its staff, the finger-board; and the arrows shot from it musical
notes. Do thou strike in the midst of the foe that Vina of musical
sound.[34] Let thy steeds, O lord, of silvery hue, be yoked unto thy car,
and let thy standard be hoisted, bearing the emblem of the golden lion.
Let thy keen-edged arrows endued with wings of gold, shot by thy strong
arms, obstruct the path of those kings and eclipse the very sun.
Vanquishing all the Kurus in battle like unto the wielder of the
thunderbolt defeating the Asuras, return thou again to the city having
achieved great renown. Son of Matsya’s king, thou art the sole refuge of
this kingdom, as that foremost of virtuous warriors, Arjuna is of the
sons of Pandu. Even like Arjuna of his brothers, thou art, without doubt,
the refuge of those dwelling within these dominions. Indeed, we, the
subject of this realm, have our protector in thee.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by the cowherd in the presence
of the females, in words breathing courage, the prince indulging in
self-commendation within the female apartments, spoke these words.”


“Uttara said, ‘Firm as I am in the use of the bow, I would set out this
very day in the track of the kine if only some one skilled in the
management of horses becomes my charioteer. I do not, however, know the
man who may be my charioteer. Look ye, therefore, without delay, for a
charioteer for me that am prepared for starting. My own charioteer was
slain in the great battle that was fought from day to day for a whole
month or at least for eight and twenty nights. As soon as I get another
person conversant with the management of the steeds, I will immediately
set out, hoisting high my own standard. Penetrating into the midst of the
hostile army abounding with elephants and horses and chariots, I will
bring back the kine, having vanquished the Kurus who are feeble in
strength and weak in weapons. Like a second wielder of the thunderbolt
terrifying the Danavas, I will bring back the kine this very moment,
affrighting in battle Duryodhana and Bhishma and Karna and Kripa and
Drona with his son, and other mighty bowmen assembled for fight. Finding
none (to oppose), the Kurus are taking away the kine. What can I do when
I am not there? The assembled Kurus shall witness my prowess today. And
they shall say unto one another, “Is it Arjuna himself who is opposing

Vaisampayana continued, “Having heard these words spoken by the
prince, Arjuna fully acquainted with the import of everything, after a
little while cheerfully spake in private unto his dear wife of faultless
beauty, Krishna, the princess of Panchala, Drupada’s daughter of slender
make, sprung from the (sacrificial) fire and endued with the virtues of
truthfulness and honesty and ever attentive to the good of her husbands.
And the hero said, ‘Do thou, O beauteous one, at my request say unto
Uttara without delay, “This Vrihannala was formerly the accomplished
resolute charioteer of Pandu’s son (Arjuna). Tried in many a great
battle, even he will be thy charioteer.”’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words uttered by the prince over
and over again in the midst of the women, Panchali could not quietly bear
those allusions to Vibhatsu. And bashfully stepping out from among the
women, the poor princess of Panchala gently spake unto him these words,
‘The handsome youth, looking like a mighty elephant and known by the name
of Vrihannala, was formerly the charioteer of Arjuna. A disciple of that
illustrious warrior, and inferior to none in use of the bow, he was known
to me while I was living with the Pandavas. It was by him that the reins
were held of Arjuna’s excellent steeds when Agni consumed the forest of
Khandava. It was with him as charioteer that Partha conquered all
creatures at Khandava-prastha. In fact, there is no charioteer equal unto

“Uttara said, ‘Thou knowest, O Sairindhri, this youth. Thou knowest, what
this one of the neuter sex may or may not be, I cannot, however, O
blessed one, myself request Vrihannala to hold the reins of my horses.’

“Draupadi said, ‘Vrihannala, O hero, will without doubt, obey the words
of thy younger sister[35]--that damsel of graceful hips. If he consents
to be thy charioteer, thou wilt, without doubt, return, having vanquished
the Kurus and rescued thy kine.’

“Thus addressed by the Sairindhri, Uttara spake unto his sister, ‘Go
thyself, O thou of faultless beauty, and bring Vrihannala hither.’ And
despatched by her brother, she hastily repaired to the dancing-hall where
that strong-armed son of Pandu was staying in disguise.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Thus despatched by her elder brother, the far-famed
daughter of king Matsya, adorned with a golden necklace, ever obedient to
her brother and possessed of a waist slender as that of the wasp,[36]
endued with the splendour of Lakshmi herself,[37] decked with the plumes
of the peacock of slender make and graceful limbs, her hips encircled by
a zone of pearls, her eye-lashes slightly curved, and her form endued
with every grace, hastily repaired to the dancing-hall like a flash of
lightning rushing towards a mass of dark clouds.[38] And the faultless
and auspicious daughter of Virata, of fine teeth and slender waist, of
thighs close unto each other and each like the trunk of an elephant, her
person embellished with an excellent garland, sought the son of Pritha
like a she-elephant seeking her mate. And like unto a precious gem or the
very embodiment of prosperity of Indra, of exceeding beauty and large
eyes, that charming and adored and celebrated damsel saluted Arjuna. And
saluted by her, Partha asked that maiden of close thighs and golden
complexion, saying ‘What brings thee hither, a damsel decked in a
necklace of gold? Why art thou in such a hurry, O gazelle-eyed maiden?
Why is thy face, O beauteous lady, so cheerless? Tell me all this without

Vaisampayana continued, “Beholding, O king, his friend, the princess of
large eyes (in that plight), her friend (Arjuna) cheerfully enquired of
her (in these words) the cause of her arrival there and then. And having
approached that bull among men, the princess, standing in the midst of
her female attendants, the displaying proper modesty[39], addressed him,
saying, ‘The kine of this realm, O Vrihannala, are being driven away by
the Kurus, and it is to conquer them that my brother will set out bow in
hand. Not long ago his own charioteer was slain in battle, and there is
none equal unto the one slain that can act as my brother’s charioteer.
And unto him striving to obtain a charioteer, Sairindhri,
O Vrihannala, hath spoken about thy skill in the management of steeds.
Thou wert formerly the favourite charioteer of Arjuna, and it was with
thee that that bull among the sons of Pandu had alone subjugated the
whole earth. Do thou, therefore, O Vrihannala, act as the charioteer of
my brother. (By this time) our kine have surely been driven away by the
Kurus to a great distance. Requested by me if thou dost not act up to my
words, I who am asking this service of thee out of affection, will give
up my life!’ Thus addressed by this friend of graceful hips, that
oppressor of foes, endued with immeasurable prowess, went into the
prince’s presence. And like unto a she-elephant running after her young
one, the princess possessed of large eyes followed that hero advancing
with hasty steps like unto an elephant with rent temples. And beholding
him from a distance, the prince himself said, ‘With thee as his
charioteer, Dhananjaya the son of Kunti had gratified Agni at the
Khandava forest and subjugated the whole world! The Sairindhri hath
spoken of thee to me. She knoweth the Pandavas. Do thou, therefore, O
Vrihannala, hold, as thou didst, the reins of my steeds, desirous as I am
of fighting with the Kurus and rescuing my bovine wealth. Thou wert
formerly the beloved charioteer of Arjuna and it was with thee that that
bull among the sons of Pandu had alone subjugated the whole earth!’ Thus
addressed, Vrihannala replied unto the prince, saying, ‘What ability have
I to act as a charioteer in the field of battle? If it is song or dance
of musical instruments or such other things, I can entertain thee
therewith, but where is my skill for becoming a charioteer?’

“Uttara said, ‘O Vrihannala, be thou a singer or a dancer, hold thou (for
the present), without loss of time, the reins of my excellent steeds,
mounting upon my car!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Although that oppressor of foes, the son of
Pandu, was acquainted with everything, yet in the presence of Uttara, he
began to make many mistakes for the sake of fun. And when he sought to
put the coat of mail on his body by raising it upwards, the large-eyed
maidens, beholding it, burst out into a loud laughter. And seeing him
quite ignorant of putting on armour, Uttara himself equipped Vrihannala
with a costly coat of mail. And casing his own person in an excellent
armour of solar effulgence, and hoisting his standard bearing the figure
of a lion, the prince caused Vrihannala to become his charioteer. And
with Vrihannala to hold his reins, the hero set out, taking with him many
costly bows and a large number of beautiful arrows. And his friend,
Uttara and her maidens then said unto Vrihannala, ‘Do thou, O Vrihannala,
bring for our dolls (when thou comest back) various kinds of good and
fine cloths after vanquishing the Kurus assembled for battle of whom
Bhishma and Drona are foremost!’ Thus addressed, Partha the son of Pandu,
in a voice deep as the roar of the clouds, smilingly said unto that bevy
of fair maidens, ‘If, thus Uttara can vanquish those mighty warriors in
battle, I will certainly bring excellent and beautiful cloths.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having said these words, the heroic Arjuna
urged the steeds towards the Kuru army over which floated innumerable
flags. Just, however, as they were starting elderly dames and maidens,
and Brahmanas of rigid vows, beholding Uttara seated on his excellent car
with Vrihannala as charioteer and under that great banner hoisted on
high, walked round the car to bless the hero. And the women said, ‘Let
the victory that Arjuna treading like a bull had achieved of old on the
occasion of burning the forest of Khandava, be thine, O Vrihannala, when
thou encounterest the Kurus today with prince Uttara.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Having issued forth from the city, the dauntless son
of Virata addressed his charioteer, saying, ‘Proceed whither the Kurus
are. Defeating the assembled Kurus who have come hither from desire of
victory, and quickly rescuing my kine from them, I will return to the
capital.’ At these words of the prince, the son of Pandu urged those
excellent steeds. And endued with the speed of the wind and decked with
necklaces of gold, those steeds, urged by that lion among men, seemed to
fly through the air. And they had not proceeded far when those smiters of
foes, Dhananjaya and the son of Matsya, sighted the army of the powerful
Kurus. And proceeding towards the cemetery, they came upon the Kurus and
beheld their army arrayed in order of battle.[40] And that large army of
theirs looked like the vast sea or a forest of innumerable trees moving
through the sky. And then was seen, O best among the Kurus, the dust
raised by that moving army which reached the sky and obstructed the sight
of all creatures. And beholding that mighty host abounding in elephants,
horses and chariots, and protected by Karna and Duryodhana and Kripa and
Santanu’s son, and that intelligent and great bowman Drona, with his son
(Aswatthaman), the son of Virata, agitated with fear and the bristles on
his body standing on their ends, thus spake unto Partha, ‘I dare not
fight with the Kurus. See, the bristles on my body have stood on their
ends. I am incapable of battling with this countless host of the Kurus,
abounding in the heroic warriors, that are extremely fierce and difficult
of being vanquished even by the celestials. I do not venture to penetrate
into the army of the Bharatas consisting of terrible bowmen and abounding
in horses and elephants and cars and footsoldiers and banners. My mind is
too much perturbed by the very sight of the foe on the field of battle on
which stand Drona and Bhishma, and Kripa, and Karna, and Vivinsati, and
Aswatthaman and Vikarna, and Saumadatti, and Vahlika, and the heroic king
Duryodhana also--that foremost of car-warriors, and many other splendid
bowmen, all skilled in battle. My hairs have stood on their ends, and I
am fainting with fear at the very sight of these smiters, the Kurus
arrayed in order of battle.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “And the low-minded and foolish Uttara out of
folly alone, began to bewail (his fate) in the presence of the
high-spirited (Arjuna) disguised (as his charioteer) in these words, ‘My
father hath gone out to meet the Trigartas taking with him his whole
army, leaving me in the empty city. There are no troops to assist me.
Alone and a mere boy who has not undergone much exercise in arms, I am
unable to encounter these innumerable warriors and all skilled in
weapons. Do thou, therefore, O Vrihannala, cease to advance!’

“Vrihannala said, ‘Why dost thou look so pale through fear and enhance
the joy of thy foes? As yet thou hast done nothing on the field of battle
with the enemy. It was thou that hadst ordered me, saying, Take me
towards the Kauravas. I will, therefore, take thee, thither where those
innumerable flags are. I will certainly take thee, O mighty-armed one,
into the midst of the hostile Kurus, prepared to fight as they are for
the kine like hawks for meat. I would do this, even if I regarded them to
have come hither for battling for a much higher stake such as the
sovereignty of the earth. Having, at the time of setting out, talked
before both men and women so highly of thy manliness, why wouldst thou
desist from the fight? If thou shouldst return home without recapturing
the kine, brave men and even women, when they meet together, will laugh
at thee (in derision). As regards myself, I cannot return to the city
without having rescued the kine, applauded as I have been so highly by
the Sairindhri in respect of my skill in driving cars. It is for those
praises by the Sairindhri and for those words of thine also (that I have
come). Why should I not, therefore, give battle to the Kurus? (As regards
thyself), be thou still.’

“Uttara said, ‘Let the Kurus rob the Matsyas of all their wealth. Let
men and women, O Vrihannala, laugh at me. Let my kine perish, let the
city be a desert. Let me stand exposed before my father. Still there is
no need of battle.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Saying this, that much affrighted prince decked
in ear-ring jumped down from his car, and throwing down his bow and
arrows began to flee, sacrificing honour and pride. Vrihannala, however,
exclaimed, ‘This is not the practice of the brave, this flight of a
Kshatriya from the field of battle. Even death in battle is better than
flight from fear.’ Having said this, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, coming
down from that excellent car ran after that prince thus running away, his
own long braid and pure red garments fluttering in the air. And some
soldiers, not knowing that it was Arjuna who was thus running with his
braid fluttering in the air, burst out into laughter at the sight. And
beholding him thus running, the Kurus began to argue, ‘Who is this
person, thus disguised like fire concealed in ashes? He is partly a man
and partly a woman. Although bearing a neuter form, he yet resembleth
Arjuna. His are the same head and neck, and his the same arms like unto a
couple of maces. And this one’s gait also is like unto his. He can be
none else than Dhananjaya. As Indra is among the celestials, so
Dhananjaya is among men. Who else in this world than Dhananjaya, would
alone come against us? Virata left a single son of his in the empty city.
He hath come out from childishness and not from true heroism. It is
Uttara who must have come out of the city, having, without doubt, made as
a charioteer Arjuna, the son of Pritha, now living in disguise. It seems
that he is now flying away in panic at sight of our army. And without
doubt Dhananjaya runneth after him to bring him back.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Beholding the disguised son of Pandu, the
Kauravas, O Bharata, began to indulge in these surmises, but they could
not come to any definite conclusion. Meanwhile, Dhananjaya, hastily
pursuing the retreating Uttara, seized him by the hair within a hundred
steps. And seized by Arjuna, the son of Virata began to lament most
woefully like one in great affliction, and said, ‘Listen, O good
Vrihannala, O thou of handsome waist. Turn thou quickly the course of the
car. He that liveth meeteth with prosperity. I will give thee a hundred
coins of pure gold and eight lapis lazuli of great brightness set with
gold, and one chariot furnished with a golden flag-staff and drawn by
excellent steeds, and also ten elephants of infuriate prowess. Do thou, O
Vrihannala, set me free.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, that tiger among men laughingly
dragged Uttara who was almost deprived of his senses and who was uttering
these words of lamentation towards the car. And the son of Pritha then
addressed the affrighted prince who had nearly lost his senses, saying,
‘If, O chastiser of foes, thou dost not venture to fight with enemy, come
thou and hold the reins of the steeds as I fight with the foe. Protected
by the might of my arms, penetrate thou yon formidable and invincible
array of cars guarded by heroic and mighty warriors. Fear not, O
chastiser of foes, thou art a Kshatriya and the foremost of royal
princes. Why dost thou, O tiger among men, succumb in the midst of the
foe? I shall surely fight with the Kurus and recover the kine,
penetrating into this formidable and inaccessible array of cars. Be thou
my charioteer, O best of men, I will fight with the Kurus.’ Thus speaking
unto Uttara, the son of Virata, Vibhatsu, heretofore unconquered in
battle, for a while comforted him. And then the son of Pritha, that
foremost of smiters, raised on the car that fainting and reluctant prince
stricken with fear!”


Vaisampayana said, “Beholding that bull among men seated on the car in
the habit of a person of the third sex, driving toward the Sami tree,
having taken (the flying) Uttara up, all the great car-warriors of the
Kurus with Bhishma and Drona at their head, became affrighted at heart,
suspecting the comer to be Dhananjaya. And seeing them so dispirited and
marking also the many wonderful portents, that foremost of all wielders
of arms, the preceptor Drona, son of Bharadwaja, said, ‘Violent and hot
are the winds that below, showering gravels in profusion. The sky also is
overcast with a gloom of ashy hue. The clouds present the strange sight
of being dry and waterless. Our weapons also of various kinds are coming
out of their cases. The jackals are yelling hideously affrighted at the
conflagrations on all sides.[41] The horses too are shedding tears, and
our banners are trembling though moved by none. Such being the
inauspicious indications seen, a great danger is at hand. Stay ye with
vigilance. Protect ye your own selves and array the troops in order of
battle. Stand ye, expecting a terrible slaughter, and guard ye well the
kine. This mighty bowman, this foremost of all wielders of weapons, this
hero that hath come in the habit of a person of the third sex, is the son
of Pritha. There is no doubt of this.’ Then addressing Bhishma, the
preceptor continued, ‘O offspring of the Ganges, apparelled as a woman,
this is Kiriti called after a tree, the son of the enemy of the
mountains, and having on his banner the sign of devastator of the gardens
of Lanka’s lord. Vanquishing us he will surely take away the kine today!
[42] This chastiser of foes is the valiant son of Pritha surnamed
Savyasachin. He doth not desist from conflict even with the gods and
demons combined. Put to great hardship in the forest he cometh in wrath.
Taught by even Indra himself, he is like unto Indra in battle. Therefore,
ye Kauravas, I do not see any hero who can withstand him. It is said that
the lord Mahadeva himself, disguised in the attire of a hunter, was
gratified by this son of Pritha in battle on the mountains of Himavat.’
Hearing these words, Karna said, ‘You always censure us by speaking on
the virtues of Falguna. Arjuna, however, is not equal to even a full
sixteenth part of myself or Duryodhana!’ And Duryodhana said, ‘If this be
Partha, O Radheya, then my purpose hath already been fulfilled, for then,
O king, if traced out, the Pandavas shall have to wander for twelve years
again. Or, if this one be any other person in a eunuch’s garb, I will
soon prostrate him on the earth with keen-edged arrows.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “The son of Dhritarashtra, O chastiser of foes,
having said this, Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Drona’s son all
applauded his manliness!”


Vaisampayana said, “Having reached that Sami tree, and having
ascertained Virata’s son to be exceedingly delicate and inexperienced in
battle, Partha addressed him, saying, ‘Enjoined by me, O Uttara, quickly
take down (from this tree) some bows that are there. For these bows of
thine are unable to bear my strength, my heavy weight when I shall grind
down horses and elephants, and the stretch of my arms when I seek to
vanquish the foe. Therefore, O Bhuminjaya, climb thou up this tree of
thick foliage, for in this tree are tied the bows and arrows and banners
and excellent coats of mail of the heroic sons of Pandu, viz.,
Yudhishthira and Bhima and Vibhatsu and the twins. There also is that bow
of great energy, the Gandiva of Arjuna, which singly is equal to many
thousands of other bows and which is capable of extending the limits of a
kingdom. Large like a palmyra tree, able to bear the greatest stress, the
largest of all weapons, capable of obstructing the foe, handsome, and
smooth, and broad, without a knot, and adorned with gold, it is stiff and
beautiful in make and beareth the heaviest weight. And the other bows
also that are there, of Yudhishthira and Bhima and Vibhatsu and the
twins, are equally mighty and tough.’”


“Uttara said, ‘It hath been heard by us that a corpse is tied in this
tree. How can I, therefore, being a prince by birth, touch it with my
hands? Born in the Kshatriya order, and the son of a great king, and
always observant of mantras and vows, it is not becoming of me to touch
it. Why shouldst thou, O Vrihannala, make me a polluted and unclean
bearer of corpses, by compelling me to come in contact with a corpse?’

“Vrihannala said, ‘Thou shalt, O king of kings, remain clean and
unpolluted. Do not fear, there are only bows in this tree and not
corpses. Heir to the king of the Matsyas, and born in a noble family, why
should I, O prince, make thee do such a reproachable deed?’”

Vaisampayana said, “Thus addressed by Partha, Virata’s son, decked in
ear-rings, alighted from the car, and climbed up that Sami tree
reluctantly. And staying on the car, Dhananjaya, that slayer of enemies,
said, unto him, ‘Speedily bring thou down those bows from the top of the
tree.’ And cutting off their wrappings first and then the ropes with which
they were tied, the prince beheld the Gandiva there along with four other
bows. And as they were untied, the splendour of those bows radiant as the
sun, began to shine with great effulgence like unto that of the planets
about the time of their rising. And beholding the forms of those bows, so
like unto sighing snakes, he become afflicted with fear and in a moment
the bristles of his body stood on their ends. And touching those large
bows of great splendour, Virata’s son, O king, thus spake unto Arjuna!”


“Uttara said, ‘To what warrior of fame doth this excellent bow belong, on
which are a hundred golden bosses and which hath such radiant ends? Whose
is this excellent bow of good sides and easy hold, on the staff of which
shine golden elephants of such brightness? Whose is this excellent bow,
adorned with three scores of Indragopakas [43] of pure gold, placed on
the back of the staff at proper intervals? Whose is this excellent bow,
furnished with three golden suns of great effulgence, blazing forth with
such brilliancy? Whose is this beautiful bow which is variegated with
gold and gems, and on which are golden insects set with beautiful stones?
Whose are these arrows furnished with wing around, numbering a thousand,
having golden heads, and cased in golden quivers? Who owneth these large
shafts, so thick, furnished with vulturine wings whetted on stone,
yellowish in hue, sharp-pointed, well-tempered, and entirely made of
iron? Whose is this sable quiver, [44] bearing five images of tigers,
which holdeth shafts intermixed with boar-eared arrows altogether
numbering ten? Whose are these seven hundred arrows, long and thick,
capable of drinking (the enemy’s) blood, and looking like the
crescent-shaped moon? [45] Whose are these gold-crested arrows whetted on
stones, the lower halves of which are well-furnished with wings of the
hue of parrots’ feather and the upper halves, of well-tempered steels?
[46] Whose is this excellent sword irresistible, and terrible to
adversaries, with the mark of a toad on it, and pointed like a toad’s
head? [47] Cased in variegated sheath of tiger-skin, whose is this large
sword of excellent blade and variegated with gold and furnished with
tinkling bells? Whose is this handsome scimitar of polished blade and
golden hilt? Manufactured in the country of the Nishadas, irresistible,
incapable of being broken, whose is this sword of polished blade in a
scabbard of cow-skin? Whose is this beautiful and long sword, sable in
hue as the sky, mounted with gold, well-tempered, and cased in a sheath
of goat-skin? Who owneth this heavy, well-tempered, and broad sword, just
longer than the breadth of thirty fingers, polished by constant clash
with other’s weapons and kept in a case of gold, bright as fire? Whose is
this beautiful scimitar of sable blade covered with golden bosses,
capable of cutting through the bodies of adversaries, whose touch is as
fatal as that of a venomous snake which is irresistible and exciteth the
terror of foes? Asked by me, O Vrihannala, do thou answer me truly. Great
is my wonder at the sight of all these excellent objects.’”


“Vrihannala said, ‘That about which thou hath first enquired is Arjuna’s
bow, of world-wide fame, called Gandiva, capable of devastating hostile
hosts. Embellished with gold, this Gandiva, the highest and largest of
all weapons belonged to Arjuna. Alone equal unto a hundred thousand
weapons, and always capable of extending the confines of kingdoms, it is
with this that Partha vanquisheth in battle both men and celestials.
Worshipped ever by the gods, the Danavas and the Gandharvas and
variegated with excellent colours, this large and smooth bow is without a
knot or stain anywhere. Shiva held it first for a thousand years.
Afterwards Prajapati held it for five hundred and three years. After that
Sakra, for five and eighty years. And then Soma held it for five hundred
years. And after that Varuna held it for a hundred years. And finally
Partha, surnamed Swetavahana,[48] hath held it for five and sixty
years.[49] Endued with great energy and of high celestial origin, this is
the best of all bows. Adored among gods and men, it hath a handsome form.
Partha obtained this beautiful bow from Varuna. This other bow of
handsome sides and golden handle is Bhima’s with which that son of
Pritha, that chastiser of foes, had conquered the whole of the eastern
regions. This other excellent bow of beautiful shape, adorned with images
of Indragopakas, belongeth, O Virata’s son, to king Yudhishthira. This
other weapon with golden suns of blazing splendour shedding a dazzling
effulgence around, belongeth to Nakula. And this bow adorned with golden
images of insects and set also with gems and stones, belongeth to that
son of Madri who is called Sahadeva. These winged arrows, thousand in
number, sharp as razors and destructive as the poison of snakes, belong,
O Virata’s son, to Arjuna. When shooting them in battle against foes,
these swift arrows blaze forth more brilliantly and become inexhaustible.
And these long and thick shafts resembling the lunar crescent in shape,
keen-edged and capable of thinning the enemy’s ranks, belong to Bhima.
And this quiver bearing five images of tigers, full of yellowish shafts
whetted on stone and furnished with golden wings belong to Nakula. This
is the quiver of the intelligent son of Madri, with which he had
conquered in battle the whole of the western regions. And these arrows,
all effulgent as the sun, painted all over with various colours, and
capable of destroying enemies by thousands are those of Sahadeva. And
these short and well-tempered and thick shafts, furnished with long
feathers and golden heads, and consisting of three knots, belong to king
Yudhishthira. And this sword with blade long and carved with the image of
a toad and head shaped as a toad’s mouth, strong and irresistible
belongeth to Arjuna. Cased in a sheath of tiger-skin, of long blade,
handsome and irresistible, and terrible to adversaries, this sword
belongeth to Bhimasena. Of excellent blade and cased in a well-painted
sheath, and furnished with a golden hilt, this handsome sword belongeth
to the wise Kaurava--Yudhishthira the just. And this sword of strong
blade, irresistible and intended for various excellent modes of fight and
cased in a sheath of goat-skin, belongeth to Nakula. And this huge
scimitar, cased in a sheath of cow-skin, strong and irresistible
belongeth to Sahadeva.’”


“Uttara said, ‘Indeed, these weapons adorned with gold, belonging to the
light-handed and high-souled Partha, look exceedingly beautiful. But
where are that Arjuna, the son of Pritha, and Yudhishthira of the Kuru
race, and Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Bhimasena, the sons of Pandu? Having
lost their kingdom at dice, the high-souled Pandavas, capable of
destroying all foes, are no longer heard of. Where also is Draupadi, the
princess of Panchala, famed as the gem among women, who followed the sons
of Pandu after their defeat at dice to the forest?’

“Arjuna said, ‘I am Arjuna, called also Partha. Thy father’s courtier is
Yudhishthira and thy father’s cook Vallava is Bhimasena, the groom of
horses is Nakula, and Sahadeva is in the cow-pen. And know thou that the
Sairindhri is Draupadi, for whose sake the Kichakas have been slain.’

“Uttara said, ‘I would believe all this if thou canst enumerate the ten
names of Partha, previously heard by me!’

“Arjuna said, ‘I will, O son of Virata, tell thee my ten names. Listen
thou and compare them with what thou hadst heard before. Listen to them
with close attention and concentrated mind. They are Arjuna, Falguna,
Jishnu, Kiritin, Swetavahana, Vibhatsu, Vijaya, Krishna, Savyasachin and

“Uttara said, ‘Tell me truly why art thou called Vijaya, and why
Swetavahana. Why art thou named Krishna and why Arjuna and Falguna and
Jishnu and Kiritin and Vibhatsu, and for what art thou Dhananjaya and
Savyasachin? I have heard before about the origin of the several names of
that hero, and can put faith in thy words if thou canst tell me all about

“Arjuna said, ‘They called me Dhananjaya because I lived in the midst of
wealth, having subjugated all the countries and taking away their
treasures. They called me Vijaya because when I go out to battle with
invincible kings, I never return (from the field) without vanquishing
them. I am called Swetavahana because when battling with the foe, white
horses decked in golden armour are always yoked unto my car. They call me
Falguna because I was born on the breast of the Himavat on a day when the
constellation Uttara Falguna was on the ascendent. I am named Kiritin
from a diadem, resplendent like the sun, having been placed of old on my
head by Indra during my encounter with the powerful Danavas. I am known
as Vibhatsu among gods and men, for my never having committed a
detestable deed on the battle-field. And since both of my hands are
capable of drawing the Gandiva, I am known as Savyasachin among gods and
men. They call me Arjuna because my complexion is very rare within the
four boundaries of the earth and because also my acts are always
stainless. I am known among human beings and celestials by the name of
Jishnu, because I am unapproachable and incapable of being kept down, and
a tamer of adversaries and son of the slayer of Paka. And Krishna, my
tenth appellation, was given to me by my father out of affection towards
his black-skinned boy of great purity.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “The son of Virata then, approaching nearer
saluted Partha and said, ‘My name is Bhuminjaya, and I am also called
Uttara. It is by good luck, O Partha, that I behold thee. Thou art
welcome, O Dhananjaya. O thou with red eyes, and arms that are mighty and
each like unto the trunk of an elephant, it behoveth thee to pardon what
I said unto thee from ignorance. And as wonderful and difficult have been
the feats achieved by thee before, my fears have been dispelled, and
indeed the love I bear to thee is great.’”


“Uttara said, ‘O hero, mounting on this large car with myself as driver,
which division of the (hostile) army wouldst thou penetrate? Commanded by
thee, I would drive thee thither.’

“Arjuna said, ‘I am pleased with thee, O tiger among men. Thou hast no
cause of fear. I will rout all thy foes in battle, O great warrior. And,
O thou of mighty arms, be at thy ease. Accomplishing great and terrible
feats in the melee, I will fight with thy foes. Tie quickly all those
quivers to my car, and take (from among those) a sword of polished blade
and adorned with gold.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of Arjuna, Uttara cast off
all inactivity. And he speedily alighted from the tree, bringing with him
Arjuna’s weapons. Then Arjuna addressed him, saying, ‘Yes, I will fight
with the Kurus and recover thy kine. Protected by me, the top of this car
will be to thee as a citadel. The passages and alleys and other divisions
of this car will be the streets and edifices of that fortified city.
These my arms will be its ramparts and gateways. This treble pole and my
quiver will constitute defensive works inaccessible to the foe. This my
banner--single and grand--will it not alone be equal unto those of thy
city? This my bow-string will constitute the catapults and cannons for
vomiting forth missiles on the besieging host. My excited wrath will
make that fortress formidable, and the clatter of my car-wheels--will it
not resemble the kettle-drums of thy capital? Ridden by myself wielding
the Gandiva, this car will be incapable of being vanquished by the
hostile host, O son of Virata, let thy fear be dispelled.’

“Uttara said, ‘I am no longer afraid of these. I know thy steadiness in
battle, which is even like unto that of Kesava or Indra himself. But
reflecting on this, I am continually bewildered. Foolish as I am, I am
incapable of arriving at certain conclusion. By what distressful
circumstances could a person of such handsome limbs and auspicious signs
become deprived of manhood! Indeed, thou seemest to me to be Mahadeva, or
Indra, or the chief of the Gandharvas, dwelling in the guise only of one
of the third sex.’

“Arjuna said, ‘I tell thee truly that I am only observing this vow for a
whole year agreeable to the behest of my elder brother. O thou of mighty
arms, I am not truly one of the neuter sex, but I have adopted this vow
of eunuchism from subservience to another’s will and from desire of
religious merit. O prince, know me now to have completed my vow.’

“Uttara said, ‘Thou hast conferred a great favour on me today, for I now
find that my suspicion was not altogether unfounded. Indeed, such a
person as thou, O best of men, cannot be of the neuter sex. I have now an
ally in battle. I can now fight with the celestials themselves. My fears
have been dispelled. What shall I do? Command me now. Trained in driving
cars by a learned preceptor I will, O bull among men, hold the reins of
thy horses that are capable of breaking the ranks of hostile cars. Know
me, O bull among men, to be as competent a charioteer as Daruka of
Vasudeva, or Matali of Sakra. The horse that is yoked unto the right-hand
pole (of thy car) and whose hoofs as they light on the ground are
scarcely visible when running, is like unto Sugriva of Krishna. This
other handsome horse, the foremost of his race, that is yoked unto the
left pole, is, I regard, equal in speed to Meghapushpa. This (third)
beautiful horse, clad in golden mail, yoked unto the rear-pole on the
left, is, I regard, Sivya equal in speed to but superior in strength. And
this (fourth) horse, yoked to the rear-pole on the right, is regarded as
superior to Valahaka in speed and strength. This car is worthy of bearing
on the field of battle a bowman like thee, and thou also art worthy of
fighting on this car. This is what I think!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then Arjuna, endued with great energy, took off
the bracelets from his arms and wore on his hands a pair of beautiful
gloves embroidered with gold. And he then tied his black and curling
locks with a piece of white cloth. And seated on that excellent car with
face turned to the east, the mighty-armed hero, purifying his body and
concentrating his soul, recalled to his mind all his weapons. And all the
weapons came, and addressing the royal son of Partha, said, ‘We are here,
O illustrious one. We are thy servants, O son of Indra.’ And bowing unto
them, Partha received them unto his hands and replied unto them, saying,
‘Dwell ye all in my memory.’ And obtaining all his weapons, the hero
looked cheerful. And quickly stringing his bow, the Gandiva, he twanged
it. And the twang of that bow was as loud as the collision of two mighty
bulls. And dreadful was the sound that filled the earth, and violent was
the wind that blew on all sides. And thick was the shower of fallen
meteors [50] and all sides were enveloped in gloom. And the birds began
to totter in the skies and large trees began to shake. [51] And loud as
the burst of the thunder, the Kurus knew from that sound that it was
Arjuna that drew with his hands the string of his best of bows from his
car. And Uttara said, ‘Thou, O best of Pandavas, art alone. These mighty
car-warriors are many. How wilt thou vanquish in battle all these that
are skilled in every kind of weapon? Thou, O son of Kunti, art without a
follower, while the Kauravas have many. It is for this, O thou of mighty
arms, that I stay beside thee, stricken with fear.’ Bursting out into
loud laughter, Partha said unto him, ‘Be not afraid, O hero, what
friendly follower had I while fighting with the mighty Gandharvas on the
occasion of the Ghoshayatra? Who was my ally while engaged in the
terrific conflict at Khandava against so many celestials and Danavas? Who
was my ally when I fought, on behalf of the lord of the celestials
against the mighty Nivatakavachas and the Paulomas! And who was my ally,
O child, while I encountered in battle innumerable kings at the
Swayamvara to the princess of Panchala? Trained in arms by the preceptor
Drona, by Sakra, and Vaisravana, and Yama, and Varuna, and Agni, and
Kripa, and Krishna of Madhu’s race, and by the wielder of the Pinaka
(Siva), why shall I not fight with these? Drive thou my car speedily, and
let thy heart’s fever be dispelled.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Making Uttara his charioteer, and circumambulating
the Sami tree, the son of Pandu set out taking all his weapons with him.
And that mighty car-warrior set out with Uttara as the driver of his car,
having taken down that banner with the lion’s figure and deposited it at
the foot of the Sami tree. And he hoisted on that car his own golden
banner bearing the figure of an ape with a lion’s tail, which was a
celestial illusion contrived by Viswakarman himself. For, as soon,
indeed, as he had thought of that gift of Agni, than the latter, knowing
his wish, ordered those superhuman creatures (that usually sat there) to
take their place in that banner. And furnished with a beautiful flag of
handsome make, with quivers attached to it, and adored with gold, that
excellent flag-staff of celestial beauty than quickly fell from the
firmament on his car. [52] And beholding that banner arrived on his car,
the hero circumambulated it (respectively). And then the ape-bannered
Vibhatsu, the son of Kunti, called also Swetavahana, with fingers cased
in leathern fences of the Iguana skin, and taking up his bow and arrows
set out in a northernly direction. And that grinder of foes, possessed of
great strength, then forcibly blew his large conch-shell, of thundering
sound, capable of making the bristles of foes to stand on their ends. And
at the sound of that conch, those steeds endued with swiftness dropped
down on the ground on their knees. And Uttara also, greatly affrighted,
sat down on the car. And thereupon the son of Kunti took the reins
himself and raising the steeds, placed them in their proper positions.
And embracing Uttara, he encouraged him also, saying, ‘Fear not, O
foremost of princes, thou art, O chastiser of foes, a Kshatriya by birth.
Why, O tiger among men, dost thou become so dispirited in the midst of
foes? Thou must have heard before the blare of many conchs and the note
of many trumpets, and the roar also of many elephants in the midst of
ranks arrayed for battle. Why art thou, therefore, so dispirited and
agitated and terrified by the blare of this conch, as if thou wert an
ordinary person?’

“Uttara said, ‘Heard have I the blare of many a conch and many a trumpet
and the roar of many an elephant stationed in the battle-array, but never
have I heard before the blare of such conch. Nor have I ever seen a
banner like this. Never before have I heard also the twang of a bow such
as this. Truly, sir, with the blare of this conch, the twang of this bow,
the superhuman cries of the creatures stationed on this banner, and the
battle of this car, my mind is greatly bewildered. My perception of the
directions also is confused, and my heart is painfully afflicted. The
whole firmament seemeth to me to have been covered by this banner, and
everything seemeth to be hidden from my view! My ears also have been
deafened by the twang of the Gandiva!’ [53]

“Arjuna said, ‘Firmly stand thou on the car, pressing thy feet on it, and
tightly catch hold of the bridles, for I will blow the conch again.’”

Vaisampayana said, “Arjuna then blew his conch again, that conch which
filled foes with grief and enhanced the joy of friends. And the sound was
so loud that it seemed to split hills and mountains, and pierce
mountain-caves and the cardinal points. And Uttara once again sat down on
the car, clinging to it in fear. And with the blare of the conch and the
rattle of the car-wheels, and the twang of the Gandiva, the earth itself
seemed to tremble. And beholding Uttara’s fight, Dhananjaya began to
comfort him again.

“Meanwhile, Drona said, ‘From the rattle of the car, and from the manner
in which the clouds have enveloped the sky and the earth itself trembles,
this warrior can be none else than Savyasachin. Our weapons do not shine,
our steeds are dispirited, and our fires, though fed with fuel, do not
blare up. All this is ominous. All our animals are setting up a frightful
howl, gazing towards the sun. The crows are perching on our banners. All
this is ominous. Yon vultures and kites on our right portend a great
danger. That jackal also, running through our ranks, waileth dismally.
Lo, it hath escaped unstruck. All this portends a heavy calamity. The
bristles also of ye all are on their ends. Surely, this forebodes a great
destruction of Kshatriyas in battle. Things endued with light are all
pale; beasts and birds look fierce; and there are to be witnessed many
terrific portents indicative of the destruction of Kshatriyas. And these
omens forebode great havoc among ourselves. O king, thy ranks seem to be
confounded by these blazing meteors, and thy animals look dispirited and
seem to be weeping. Vultures and kites are wheeling all around thy
troops. Thou shalt have to repent upon beholding thy army afflicted by
Partha’s arrows. Indeed, our ranks seem to have been already vanquished,
for none is eager to go to fight. All our warriors are of pale face, and
almost deprived of their senses. Sending the kine ahead we should stand
here, ready to strike, with all our warriors arrayed in order of battle.’”


Vaisampayana said, “King Duryodhana then, on the field of battle said
unto Bhishma, and unto Drona--that tiger among warriors, and unto
Kripa--that mighty car-warrior, these words, ‘Both myself and Karna had
said this unto the preceptors.[54] I refer to the subject again, for I am
not satisfied with having said it once. Even this was the pledge of the
sons of Pandu that if defeated (at dice) they would reside to our
knowledge in countries and woods for twelve years, and one more year
unknown to us. That thirteenth year, instead of being over, is yet
running. Vibhatsu, therefore, who is still to live undiscovered hath
appeared before us. And if Vibhatsu hath come before the term of exile is
at end, the Pandavas shall have to pass another twelve years in the
woods. Whether it is due to forgetfulness (on their part) induced by
desire of dominion, or whether it is a mistake of ours, it behoveth
Bhishma to calculate the shortness or excess (of the promised period).
When an object of desire may or may not be attained, a doubt necessarily
attaches to one of the alternatives, and what is decided in one way often
ends differently. [55] Even moralists are puzzled in judging of their own
acts. [56] As regards ourselves, we have come hither to fight with the
Matsyas and to seize their kine stationed towards the north. If,
meanwhile, it is Arjuna that hath come, what fault can attach to us? We
have come hither to fight against the Matsyas on behalf of the Trigartas;
and as numerous were the acts represented unto us of the oppressions
committed by the Matsyas, it was for this that we promised aid to the
Trigartas who were overcome with fear. And it was agreed between us that
they should first seize, on the afternoon of the seventh lunar day, the
enormous wealth of kine that the Matsyas have, and that we should, at
sunrise of the eighteen day of the moon, seize these kine when the king
of the Matsyas would be pursuing those first seized. It may be that the
Trigartas are now bringing away the kine, or being defeated, are coming
towards us for negotiating with the king of the Matsyas. Or, it may be,
that having driven the Trigartas off, the king of the Matsyas, at the
head of this people and his whole army of fierce warriors, appeareth on
the scene and advanceth to make night-attacks upon us. It may be that
some one leader among them, endued with mighty energy, is advancing for
vanquishing us, or, it may be that the king himself of the Matsyas is
come. But be it the king of the Matsyas or Vibhatsu, we must all fight
him. Even this hath been our pledge. Why are all these of foremost
car-warriors,--Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Vikarna and Drona’s
son,--now sitting on their cars, panic-stricken? At present there is
nothing better than fighting. Therefore, make up your minds. If, for the
cattle we have seized, an encounter takes place with the divine wielder
himself of the thunderbolt or even with Yama, who is there that will be
liable to reach Hastinapura? Pierced by the shafts (of the foe), how will
the foot-soldiers, in flying through the deep forest with their backs on
the field, escape with life, when escape for the cavalry is doubtful?’
Hearing these words of Duryodhana, Karna said, ‘Disregarding the
preceptor, make all arrangements. He knoweth well the intentions of the
Pandavas and striketh terror in our hearts. I see that his affection for
Arjuna is very great. Seeing him only coming, he chanteth his praises.
Make ye such arrangements that our troops may not break. Everything is in
confusion for Drona’s having only heard the neigh of (Arjuna’s) steeds.
Make ye such arrangements that these troops, come to a distant land in
this hot season and in the midst of this mighty forest, may not fall into
confusion and be subjugated by the foe. The Pandavas are always the
special favourites of the preceptor. The selfish Pandavas have stationed
Drona amongst us. Indeed, he betrayeth himself by his speech. Who would
ever extol a person upon hearing the neigh only of his steeds? Horses
always neigh, whether walking or standing, the winds blow at all times;
and Indra also always showereth rain. The roar of the clouds may
frequently be heard. What hath Partha to do with these, and why is he to
be praised for these? All this (on Drona’s part), therefore, is due only
to either the desire of doing good to Arjuna or to his wrath and hatred
towards us. Preceptors are wise, and sinless, and very kind to all
creatures. They, however, should never be consulted at times of peril. It
is in luxurious palaces, and assemblies and pleasure-gardens, that
learned men, capable of making speeches, seem to be in their place.
Performing many wonderful things, in the assembly, it is there that
learned men find their place, or even there where sacrificial utensils
and their proper placing and washing are needed. In a knowledge of the
lapses of others, in studying the characters of men, in the science of
horses and elephants and cars, in treating the diseases of asses and
camels and goats and sheeps and kine, in planning buildings and gateways,
and in pointing out the defects of food and drink, the learned are truly
in their own sphere. Disregarding learned men that extol the heroism of
the foe, make ye such arrangements that the foe may be destroyed. Placing
the kine securely, array the troops in order of battle. Place guards in
proper places so that we may fight the foe.’”


“Karna said, ‘I behold all these blessed ones, looking as if alarmed and
panic-struck and unresolved and unwilling to fight. If he that is come is
the king of the Matsyas or Vibhatsu, even I will resist him as the banks
resist the swelling sea. Shot from my bow these straight and flying
arrows, like gliding snakes, are all sure of aim. Discharged by my light
hands, these keen-edged arrows furnished with golden wings shall cover
Partha all over, like locusts shrouding a tree. Strongly pressed by these
winged arrows, the bow-string will cause these my leathern fences to
produce sounds that will be heard to resemble those of a couple of
kettle-drums. Having been engaged in ascetic austerities for the (last)
eight and five years, Vibhatsu will strike me but mildly in this
conflict, and the son of Kunti having become a Brahmana endued with good
qualities, hath thus become a fit person to quietly receive shafts by
thousands shot by me. This mighty bowman is indeed, celebrated over the
three worlds. I, too, am, by no means, inferior to Arjuna, that foremost
of human beings. With golden arrows furnished with vulturine wings shot
on all sides, let the firmament seem today to swarm with fire-flies.
Slaying Arjuna in battle, I will discharge today that debt, difficult of
repayments, but promised of old by me unto Dhritarashtra’s son. When man
is there, even amongst all the gods and the Asuras, that will endure to
stand in the teeth of the straight arrows shot from my bow? Let my flying
arrows, winged and depressed at the middle, present the spectacle of the
coursing of the fire-flies through the welkin. Hard though he be as
Indra’s thunderbolt and possessed of the energy of the chief of the
celestials, I will surely grind Partha, even as one afflicts an elephant
by means of burning brands. A heroic and mighty car-warrior as he is, and
the foremost of all wielders of weapons I shall seize the unresisting
Partha, even like Garuda seizing a snake. Irresistible like fire, and fed
by the fuel of swords, darts, and arrows, the blazing Pandava-fire that
consumeth foes, will be extinguished even by myself who am like unto a
mighty cloud incessantly dropping an arrowy shower,--the multitude of
cars (I will lead) constituting its thunder, and the speed of my horses,
the wind in advance. Discharged from my bow, my arrows like venomous
snakes will pierce Partha’s body, like serpent penetrating through an
ant-hill. Pierced with well-tempered and straight shafts endued with
golden wings and great energy, behold ye today the son of Kunti decked
like a hill covered with Karnikara flowers. Having obtained weapons from
that best of ascetics--the son of Jamadagni, I would, relying on their
energy, fight with even the celestials. Struck with my javelin, the ape
stationed on his banner-top shall fall down today on the ground, uttering
terrible cries. The firmament will today be filled with the cries of the
(super-human) creatures stationed in the flagstaff of the foe, and
afflicted by me, they will fly away in all directions. I shall today
pluck up by the roots the long-existing dart in Duryodhana’s heart by
throwing Arjuna down from his car. The Kauravas will today behold Partha
with his car broken, his horses killed, his valour gone, and himself
sighing like a snake. Let the Kauravas, following their own will go away
taking this wealth of kine, or, if they wish, let them stay on their cars
and witness my combat.’”


“Kripa said, ‘O Radheya, thy crooked heart always inclineth to war. Thou
knowest not the true nature of things; nor dost thou take into account
their after-consequences. There are various kinds of expedients
inferrable from the scriptures. Of these, a battle hath been regarded by
those acquainted with the past, as the most sinful. It is only when time
and place are favourable that military operations can lead to success. In
the present instance, however, the time being unfavourable, no good
results will be derived. A display of prowess in proper time and place
becometh beneficial. It is by the favourableness or otherwise (of time
and place) that the opportuneness of an act is determined. Learned men
can never act according to the ideas of a car-maker. Considering all
this, an encounter with Partha is not advisible for us. Alone he saved
the Kurus (from the Gandharvas), and alone he satiated Agni. Alone he led
the life of a Brahmacharin for five years (on the breast of Himavat).
Taking up Subhadra on his car, alone he challenged Krishna to single
combat. Alone he fought with Rudra who stood before him as a forester. It
was in this very forest that Partha rescued Krishna while she was being
taken away (by Jayadratha). It is he alone that hath, for five years,
studied the science of weapons under Indra. Alone vanquishing all foes he
hath spread the fame of the Kurus. Alone that chastiser of foes
vanquished in battle Chitrasena, the king of the Gandharvas and in a
moment his invincible troops also. Alone he overthrew in battle the
fierce Nivatakavachas and the Kalakhanchas, that were both incapable of
being slain by the gods themselves. What, however, O Karna, hath been
achieved by thee single-handed like any of the sons of Pandu, each of
whom had alone subjugated many lords of earth? Even Indra himself is
unfit to encounter Partha in battle. He, therefore, that desireth to
fight with Arjuna should take a sedative. As to thyself, thou desirest to
take out the fangs of an angry snake of virulent poison by stretching
forth thy right hand and extending thy forefinger. Or, wandering alone in
the forest thou desirest to ride an infuriate elephant and go to a boar
without a hook in hand. Or, rubbed over with clarified butter and dressed
in silken robes, thou desirest to pass through the midst of a blazing
fire fed with fat and tallow and clarified butter. Who is there that
would, binding his own hands and feet and tying a huge stone unto his
neck, cross the ocean swimming with his bare arms? What manliness is
there in such an act? O Karna, he is a fool that would, without skill in
weapons and without strength, desire to fight with Partha who is so
mighty and skilled in weapons? Dishonestly deceived by us and liberated
from thirteen years’ exile, will not the illustrious hero annihilate us?
Having ignorantly come to a place where Partha lay concealed like fire
hidden in a well, we have, indeed, exposed to a great danger. But
irresistible though he be in battle, we should fight against him. Let,
therefore, our troops, clad in mail, stand here arrayed in ranks and
ready to strike. Let Drona and Duryodhana and Bhishma and thyself and
Drona’s son and ourselves, all fight with the son of Pritha. Do not O
Karna, act so rashly as to fight alone. If we six car-warriors be united,
we can then be a match for and fight with that son of Pritha who is
resolved to fight and who is as fierce as the wielder of the thunderbolt.
Aided by our troops arrayed in ranks, ourselves--great bowmen--standing
carefully will fight with Arjuna even as the Danavas encounter Vasava in


“Aswatthaman said, ‘The kine, O Karna, have not yet been won, nor have
they yet crossed the boundary (of their owner’s dominions), nor have they
yet reached Hastinapura. Why dost thou, therefore, boast of thyself?
Having won numerous battles, and acquired enormous wealth, and vanquished
hostile hosts, men of true heroism speak not a word of their prowess.
Fire burneth mutely and mutely doth the sun shine. Mutely also doth the
Earth bear creatures, both mobile and immobile. The Self-existent hath
sanctioned such offices for the four orders that having recourse to them
each may acquire wealth without being censurable. A Brahmana, having
studied the Vedas, should perform sacrifices himself, and officiate at
the sacrifices of others. And a Kshatriya, depending upon the bow, should
perform sacrifices himself but should never officiate at the sacrifices
of others. And of Vaisya, having earned wealth, should cause the rites
enjoined in the Vedas to be performed for himself. A Sudra should always
wait upon and serve the other three orders. As regards those that live by
practising the profession of flowers and vendors of meat, they may earn
wealth by expedients fraught with deceit and fraud. Always acting
according to the dictates of the scriptures, the exalted sons of Pandu
acquired the sovereignty of the whole earth, and they always act
respectfully towards their superiors, even if the latter prove hostile to
them. What Kshatriya is there that expressed delight at having obtained a
kingdom by means of dice, like this wicked and shameless son of
Dhritarashtra? Having acquired wealth in this way by deceit and fraud
like a vendor of meat, who that is wise boast of it? In what single
combat didst thou vanquish Dhananjaya, or Nakula, or Sahadeva, although
thou hast robbed them of their wealth? In what battle didst thou defeat
Yudhishthira, or Bhima that foremost of strong men? In what battle was
Indraprastha conquered by thee? What thou hast done, however, O thou of
wicked deeds, is to drag that princess to court while she was ill and had
but one raiment on? Thou hast cut the mighty root, delicate as the
sandal, of the Pandava tree. Actuated by desire of wealth, when thou
madest the Pandavas act as slaves, rememberest thou what Vidura said! We
see that men and others, even insects and ants, show forgiveness
according to their power of endurance. The son of Pandu, however, is
incapable of forgiving the sufferings of Draupadi. Surely, Dhananjaya
cometh here for the destruction of the sons of Dhritarashtra. It is true,
affecting great wisdom, thou art for making speeches but will not
Vibhatsu, that slayer of foes, exterminate us all! If it be gods, or
Gandharvas or Asuras, or Rakshasas, will Dhananjaya the son of Kunti,
desist to fight from panic? Inflamed with wrath upon whomsoever he will
fall, even him he will overthrow like a tree under the weight of Garuda!
Superior to thee in prowess, in bowmanship equal unto the lord himself of
the celestials, and in battle equal unto Vasudeva himself, who is there
that would not praise Partha? Counteracting celestial weapons with
celestial, and human weapons with human, what man is a match for Arjuna?
Those acquainted with the scriptures declare that a disciple is no way
inferior to a son, and it is for this that the son of Pandu is a
favourite of Drona. Employ thou the means now which thou hadst adopted in
the match at dice,--the same means, viz., by which thou hadst subjugated
Indraprastha, and the same means by which thou hadst dragged Krishna to
the assembly! This thy wise uncle, fully conversant with the duties of
the Kshatriya order--this deceitful gambler Sakuni, the prince of
Gandhara, let him fight now! The Gandiva, however, doth not cast dice
such as the Krita or the Dwapara, but it shooteth upon foes blazing and
keen-edged shafts by myriads. The fierce arrows shot from the Gandiva,
endued with great energy and furnished with vulturine wings, can pierce
even mountains. The destroyer of all, named Yama, and Vayu, and the
horse-faced Agni, leave some remnant behind, but Dhananjaya inflamed with
wrath never doth so. As thou hadst, aided by thy uncle, played at dice in
the assembly so do fight in this battle protected by Suvala’s son. Let
the preceptor, if he chooses fight; I shall not, however, fight with
Dhananjaya. We are to fight with the king of the Matsyas, if indeed, he
cometh in the track of the kine.’”


“Bhishma said, ‘Drona’s son observeth well, and Kripa, too observeth
rightly. As for Karna, it is only out of regard for the duties of the
Kshatriya order that he desireth to fight. No man of wisdom can blame the
preceptor. I, however, am of opinion that fight we must, considering both
the time and the place. Why should not that man be bewildered who hath
five adversaries effulgent as five suns, who are heroic combatants and
who have just emerged from adversity? Even those conversant with morality
are bewildered in respect of their own interests. It is for this, O king,
that I tell thee this, whether my words be acceptable to you or not. What
Karna said unto thee was only for raising our (drooping) courage. As
regards thyself, O preceptor’s son, forgive everything. The business at
hand is very grave. When the son of Kunti hath come, this is not the time
for quarrel. Everything should now be forgiven by thyself and the
preceptor Kripa. Like light in the sun, the mastery of all weapons doth
reside in you. As beauty is never separated from Chandramas, so are the
Vedas and the Brahma weapon both established in you. It is often seen
that the four Vedas dwell in one object and Kshatriya attributes in
another. We have never heard of these two dwelling together in any other
person than the preceptor of the Bharata race and his son. Even this is
what I think. In the Vedantas, in the Puranas, and in old histories, who
save Jamadagni, O king, would be Drona’s superior? A combination of the
Brahma weapon with the Vedas,--this is never to be seen anywhere else. O
preceptor’s son, do thou forgive. This is not the time for disunion. Let
all of us, uniting, fight with Indra’s son who hath come. Of all the
calamities that may befall an army that have been enumerated by men of
wisdom, the worst is disunion among the leaders.’ Aswatthaman said, ‘O
bull among men, these thy just observations, need not be uttered in our
presence; the preceptor, however, filled with wrath, had spoken of
Arjuna’s virtues. The virtues of even an enemy should be admitted, while
the faults of even one’s preceptor may be pointed out; therefore one
should, to the best of his power, declare the merits of a son or a

“Duryodhana said, ‘Let the preceptor grant his forgiveness and let peace
be restored. If the preceptor be at one with us, whatever should be done
(in view of the present emergency) would seem to have been already done.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then, O Bharata, Duryodhana assisted by Karna
and Kripa, and the high-souled Bhishma pacified Drona.

“Drona said, ‘Appeased I have already been at the words first spoken by
Bhishma, the son of Santanu. Let such arrangements be made that Partha
may not be able to approach Duryodhana in battle. And let such
arrangements be made that king Duryodhana may not be captured by the foe,
in consequence either of his rashness or want of judgment. Arjuna hath
not, to be sure, revealed himself before the expiry of the term of exile.
Nor will he pardon this act (of ours) today, having only recovered the
kine. Let such arrangements, therefore, be made that he may not succeed
in attacking Dhritarashtra’s son and defeating our troops. Like myself
(who am doubtful of the completion of period of exile) Duryodhana also
had said so before. Bearing it in mind, it behoveth the son of Ganga to
say what is true.’”


“Bhishma said, ‘The wheel of time revolves with its divisions, viz., with
Kalas and Kasthas and Muhurtas and days and fortnights and months and
constellations and planets and seasons and years. In consequence of their
fractional excesses and the deviations also of the heavenly bodies,
there is an increase of two months in every five years. It seems to me
that calculating this wise, there would be an excess of five months and
twelve nights in thirteen years. Everything, therefore, that the sons of
Pandu had promised, hath been exactly fulfilled by them. Knowing this to
be certain, Vibhatsu hath made his appearance. All of them are
high-souled and fully conversant with the meanings of the scriptures. How
would they deviate from virtue that have Yudhishthira for their guide?
The sons of Kunti do not yield to temptation. They have achieved a
difficult feat. If they had coveted the possession of their kingdom by
unfair means, then those descendants of the Kuru race would have sought
to display their prowess at the time of the match at dice. Bound in bonds
of virtue, they did not deviate from the duties of the Kshatriya order.
He that will regard them to have behaved falsely will surely meet with
defeat. The sons of Pritha would prefer death to falsehood. When the
time, however, comes, those bulls among men--the Pandavas--endued with
energy like that of Sikra, would not give up what is theirs even if it is
defended by the wielder himself of the thunderbolt. We shall have to
oppose in battle the foremost of all wielders of weapons. Therefore, let
such advantageous arrangements as have the sanction of the good and the
honest be now made without loss of time so that our possessions may not
be appropriated by the foe. O king of kings, O Kaurava, I have never seen
a battle in which one of the parties could say,--“we are sure to win.” When
a battle occurs, there must be victory or defeat, prosperity or
adversity. Without doubt, a party to a battle must have either of the
two. Therefore, O king of kings, whether a battle be now proper or not
consistent with virtue or not, make thy arrangements soon, for Dhananjaya
is at hand.’

“Duryodhana said, ‘I will not, O grandsire, give back the Pandavas their
kingdom. Let every preparation, therefore, for battle be made without

“Bhishma said, ‘Listen to what I regard as proper, if it pleases thee. I
should always say what is for thy good, O Kaurava. Proceed thou towards
the capital, without loss of time, taking with thee a fourth part of the
army. And let another fourth march, escorting the kine. With half the
troops we will fight the Pandava. Myself and Drona, and Karna and
Aswatthaman and Kripa will resolutely withstand Vibhatsu, or the king of
the Matsyas, or Indra himself, if he approaches. Indeed, we will
withstand any of these like the bank withstanding the surging sea.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “These words spoken by the high-souled Bhishma
were acceptable to them, and the king of the Kauravas acted accordingly
without delay. And having sent away the king and then the kine, Bhishma
began to array the soldiers in order of battle. And addressing the
preceptor, he said, ‘O preceptor, stand thou in the centre, and let
Aswatthaman stand on the left, and let the wise Kripa, son of Saradwata,
defend the right wing, and let Karna of the Suta caste, clad in mail,
stand in the van. I will stand in the rear of the whole army, protecting
it from that point.’”


Vaisampayana said, “After the Kauravas, O Bharata, had taken their stand
in this order, Arjuna, filling the air with the rattle and din of his
car, advanced quickly towards them. And the Kurus beheld his banner-top
and heard the rattle and din of his car as also the twang of the Gandiva
stretched repeatedly by him. And noting all this, and seeing that great
car-warrior--the wielder of the Gandiva--come, Drona spoke thus, ‘That is
the banner-top of Partha which shineth at a distance, and this is the
noise of his car, and that is the ape that roareth frightfully. Indeed,
the ape striketh terror in the troops. And there stationed on that
excellent car, the foremost of car-warriors draweth that best of bows,
the Gandiva, whose twang is as loud as the thunder. Behold, these two
shafts coming together fall at my feet, and two others pass off barely
touching my ears. Completing the period of exile and having achieved many
wonderful feats, Partha saluteth me and whispereth in my ears. Endued
with wisdom and beloved of his relatives, this Dhananjaya, the son of
Pandu, is, indeed, beheld by us after a long time, blazing with beauty
and grace. Possessed of car and arrows, furnished with handsome fences
and quiver and conch and banner and coat of mail, decked with diadem and
scimitar and bow, the son of Pritha shineth like the blazing (Homa) fire
surrounded with sacrificial ladles and fed with sacrificial butter.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Beholding the Kurus ready for battle, Arjuna
addressing Matsya’s son in words suitable to the occasion, said, ‘O
charioteer, restrain thou the steeds at such a point whence my arrows may
reach the enemy. Meanwhile, let me see, where, in the midst of this army,
is that vile wretch of the Kuru race. Disregarding all these, and
singling out that vainest of princes I will fall upon his head, for upon
the defeat of that wretch the others will regard themselves as defeated.
There standeth Drona, and thereafter him his son. And there are those
great bowmen--Bhishma and Kripa and Karna. I do not see, however, the king
there. I suspect that anxious to save his life, he retreateth by the
southern road, taking away with him the kine. Leaving this array of
car-warriors, proceed to the spot where Suyodhana is. There will I fight,
O son of Virata, for there the battle will not be fruitless. Defeating
him I will come back, taking away the kine.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, the son of Virata restrained
the steeds with an effort and turned them by a pull at the bridle from
the spot where those bulls of the Kuru race were, and urged them on
towards the place where Duryodhana was. And as Arjuna went away leaving
that thick array of cars, Kripa, guessing his intention, addressed his
own comrades, saying, ‘This Vibhatsu desireth not to take up his stand at
a spot remote from the king. Let us quickly fall upon the flanks of the
advancing hero. When inflamed with wrath, none else, unassisted, can
encounter him in battle save the deity of a thousand eyes, or Krishna the
son of Devaki. Of what use to us would the kine be or this vast wealth
also, if Duryodhana were to sink, like a boat, in the ocean of Partha?’
Meanwhile, Vibhatsu, having proceeded towards that division of the army,
announced himself speedily by name, and covered the troops with his
arrows thick as locusts. And covered with those countless shafts shot by
Partha, the hostile warriors could not see anything, the earth itself and
the sky becoming overwhelmed therewith. And the soldiers who had been
ready for the fight were so confounded that none could even the flee from
the field. And beholding the light-handedness of Partha they all
applauded it mentally. And Arjuna then blew his conch which always made
the bristles of the foe stand erect. And twanging his best of bows, he
urged the creatures on his flagstaff to roar more frightfully. And at the
blare of his conch and the rattle of his car-wheels, and the twang of the
Gandiva, and the roar of the superhuman creatures stationed on his
flagstaff, the earth itself began to tremble. And shaking their upraised
tails and lowing together, the kine turned back, proceeding along the
southern road.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Having disorganised the hostile host by force and
having recovered the kine, that foremost of bowmen, desirous of fighting
again, proceeded towards Duryodhana. And beholding the kine running wild
towards the city of the Matsyas, the foremost warriors of the Kurus
regarded Kiritin to have already achieved success. And all of a sudden
they fell upon Arjuna who was advancing towards Duryodhana. And beholding
their countless divisions firmly arrayed in order of battle with
countless banners waving over them, that slayer of foes, addressing the
son of the king of the Matsyas, said, ‘Urge on, to the best of their
speed by this road, these white steeds decked with golden bridles. Strive
thou well, for I would approach this crowd of Kuru lions. Like an
elephant desiring an encounter with another, the Suta’s son of wicked
soul eagerly desireth a battle with me. Take me, O prince, to him who
hath grown so proud under the patronage of Duryodhana.’ Thus addressed,
the son of Virata by means of those large steeds endued with the speed of
the wind and furnished with golden armour, broke that array of cars and
took the Pandava into the midst of the battle-field. And seeing this
those mighty car-warriors, Chitrasena and Sangramajit and Satrusaha and
Jaya, desirous of aiding Karna, rushed with arrows and long shafts,
towards the advancing hero of Bharata’s race. Then that foremost of men,
inflamed with wrath, began to consume by means of fiery arrows shot from
his bow, that array of cars belonging to those bulls among the Kurus,
like a tremendous conflagration consuming a forest. Then, when the battle
began to rage furiously, the Kuru hero, Vikarna, mounted on his car,
approached that foremost of car-warriors, Partha, the younger brother of
Bhima,--showering upon him terrible shafts thick and long. Then cutting
Vikarna’s bow furnished with a tough string and horns overlaid with gold,
Arjuna cut off his flagstaff. And Vikarna, beholding his flagstaff cut
off, speedily took to flight. And after Vikarna’s flight, Satruntapa,
unable to repress his ire, began to afflict Partha, that obstructer of
foes and achiever of super-human feats, by means of a perfect shower of
arrows. And drowned, as it were, in the midst of the Kuru-array, Arjuna,
pierced by that mighty car-warrior,--king Satruntapa--pierced the latter
in return with five and then slew his car-driver with ten shafts, and
pierced by that bull of the Bharata race with an arrow capable of
cleaving the thickest coat of mail, Satruntapa fell dead on the field of
battle, like a tree from a mountain-top torn up by the wind. And those
brave bulls among men, mangled in battle by that braver bull among men,
began to waver and tremble like mighty forests shaken by the violence of
the wind that blows at the time of the universal dissolution. And struck
in battle by Partha, the son of Vasava, those well-dressed heroes among
men--those givers of wealth endued with the energy of Vasava--defeated
and deprived of life, began to measure their lengths on the ground, like
full-grown Himalayan elephants clad in mails of black steel decked with
gold. And like unto a raging fire consuming a forest at the close of
summer, that foremost of men, wielding the Gandiva, ranged the field in
all directions, slaying his foes in battle thus. And as the wind rangeth
at will, scattering masses of clouds and fallen leaves in the season of
spring, so did that foremost of car-warriors--Kiritin--ranged in that
battle, scattering all his foes before him. And soon slaying the red
steeds yoked unto the car of Sangramajit, the brother of Vikartana’s son,
that hero decked in diadem and endued with great vigour then cut off his
antagonist’s head by a crescent-shaped arrow. And when his brother was
slain, Vikartana’s son of the Suta caste, mustering all his prowess,
rushed at Arjuna, like a huge elephant with out-stretched tusks, or like
a tiger at a mighty bull. And the son of Vikarna quickly pierced the son
of Pandu with twelve shafts and all his steeds also in every part of
their bodies and Virata’s son too in his hand. And rushing impetuously
against Vikarna’s son who was suddenly advancing against him, Kiritin
attacked him fiercely like Garuda of variegated plumage swooping down
upon a snake. And both of them were foremost of bowmen, and both were
endued with great strength, and both were capable of slaying foes. And
seeing that an encounter was imminent between them, the Kauravas, anxious
to witness it, stood aloof as lookers on. And beholding the offender
Karna, the son of Pandu, excited to fury, and glad also at having him,
soon made him, his horses, his car, and car-driver invisible by means of
a frightful shower of countless arrows. And the warriors of the Bharatas
headed by Bhishma, with their horses, elephants, and cars, pierced by
Kiritin and rendered invisible by means of his shafts, their ranks also
scattered and broken, began to wail aloud in grief. The illustrious and
heroic Karna, however counteracting with numberless arrows of his own
those shafts by Arjuna’s hand, soon burst forth in view with bow and
arrows like a blazing fire. And then there arose the sound of loud
clapping of hands, with the blare of conchs and trumpets and kettle-drums
made by the Kurus while they applauded Vikartana’s son who filled the
atmosphere with the sound of his bow-string flapping against his fence.
And beholding Kiritin filling the air with the twang of Gandiva, and the
upraised tail of the monkey that constituted his flag and that terrible
creature yelling furiously from the top of his flagstaff, Karna sent
forth a loud roar. And afflicting by means of his shafts, Vikartana’s son
along with his steeds, car and car-driver, Kiritin impetuously poured an
arrowy shower on him, casting his eyes on the grandsire and Drona and
Kripa. And Vikartana’s son also poured upon Partha a heavy shower of
arrows like a rain-charged cloud. And the diadem-decked Arjuna also
covered Karna with a thick down-pour of keen-edged shafts. And the two
heroes stationed on their cars, creating clouds of keen-edged arrows in a
combat carried on by means of countless shafts and weapons, appeared to
the spectators like the sun and the moon covered by clouds, and the
light-handed Karna, unable to bear the sight of the foe, pierced the four
horses of the diadem-decked hero with whetted arrows, and then struck his
car-driver with three shafts, and his flagstaff also with three. Thus
struck, that grinder of all adversaries in battle, that bull of the Kuru
race, Jishnu wielding the Gandiva, like a lion awaked from slumber,
furiously attacked Karna by means of straight-going arrows. And afflicted
by the arrowy shower (of Karna), that illustrious achiever of super-human
deeds soon displayed a thick shower of arrows in return. And he covered
Karna’s car with countless shafts like the sun covering the different
worlds with rays. And like a lion attacked by an elephant, Arjuna, taking
some keen crescent-shaped arrows from out of his quiver and drawing his
bow to his ear, pierced the Suta’s son on every part of his body. And
that grinder of foes pierced Karna’s arms and thighs and head and
forehead and neck and other principal parts of his body with whetted
shafts endued with the impetuosity of the thunderbolt and shot from the
Gandiva in battle. And mangled and afflicted by the arrows shot by Partha
the son of Pandu, Vikartana’s son, quitted the van of battle, and quickly
took to flight, like one elephant vanquished by another.”


Vaisampayana said, “After the son of Radha had fled from the field,
other warriors headed by Duryodhana, one after another, fell upon the son
of Pandu with their respective divisions. And like the shore withstanding
the fury of the surging sea, that warrior withstood the rage of that
countless host rushing towards him, arrayed in order of battle and
showering clouds of arrows. And that foremost of car-warriors, Kunti’s
son Vibhatsu of white steeds, rushed towards the foe, discharging
celestial weapons all the while. Partha soon covered all the points of
the horizon with countless arrows shot from the Gandiva, like the sun
covering the whole earth with his rays. And amongst those that fought on
cars and horses and elephants, and amongst the mail-clad foot-soldiers,
there was none that had on his body a space of even two finger’s breadth
unwounded with sharp arrows. And for his dexterity in applying celestial
weapons, and for the training of the steeds and the skill of Uttara, and
for the coursing of his weapons, and his prowess and light-handedness,
people began to regard Arjuna as the fire that blazeth forth during the
time of the universal dissolution for consuming all created things. And
none amongst the foe could cast his eyes on Arjuna who shone like a
blazing fire of great effulgence. And mangled by the arrows of Arjuna,
the hostile ranks looked like newly-risen clouds on the breast of a hill
reflecting the solar rays, or like groves of Asoka trees resplendent with
clusters of flowers. Indeed, afflicted by the arrows of Partha, the
soldiers looked like these, or like a beautiful garland whose flowers
gradually wither and drop away: And the all-pervading wind bore on its
wings in the sky the torn flags and umbrellas of the hostile host. And
affrighted at the havoc amongst their own ranks, the steeds fled in all
directions, freed from their yokes by means of Partha’s arrows and
dragging after them broken portions of cars and elephants, struck on
their ears and ribs and tusks and nether lips and other delicate parts of
the body, began to drop down on the battle-field. And the earth, bestrewn
in a short time with the corpses of elephants belonging to the Kauravas,
looked like the sky overcast with masses of black clouds. And as that
fire of blazing flames at the end of the yuga consumeth all perishable
things of the world, both mobile and immobile, so did Partha, O king,
consumeth all foes in battle. And by the energy of his weapons and the
twang of his bow, and the preter-natural yells of the creatures stationed
on his flagstaff, and the terrible roar of the monkey, and by the blast
of his conch, that mighty grinder of foes, Vibhatsu, struck terror into
the hearts of all the troops of Duryodhana. And the strength of every
hostile warrior seemed, as it were, to be levelled to the dust at the
very sight of Arjuna. And unwilling to commit the daring act of sin of
slaying them that were defenceless, Arjuna suddenly fell back and
attacked the army from behind by means of clouds of keen-edged arrows
proceeding towards their aims like hawks let off by fowlers. And he soon
covered the entire welkin with clusters of blood-drinking arrows. And as
the (infinite) rays of the powerful sun, entering a small vessel, are
contracted within it for want of space, so the countless shafts of Arjuna
could not find space for their expansion even within the vast welkin.
Foes were able to behold Arjuna’s car, when near, only once, for
immediately after, they were with their horses, sent to the other world.
And as his arrows unobstructed by the bodies of foes always passed
through them, so his car, unimpeded by hostile ranks, always passed
through the latter. And, indeed, he began to toss about and agitate the
hostile troops with great violence like the thousand-headed Vasuki
sporting in the great ocean. And as Kiritin incessantly shot his shafts,
the noise of the bow-string, transcending every sound, was so loud that
the like of it had never been heard before by created beings. And the
elephants crowding the field, their bodies pierced with (blazing) arrows
with small intervals between looked like black clouds coruscated with
solar rays. And ranging in all directions and shooting (arrows) right and
left, Arjuna’s bow was always to be seen drawn to a perfect circle. And
the arrows of the wielder of the Gandiva never fell upon anything except
the aim, even as the eye never dwelleth on anything that is not
beautiful. And as the track of a herd of elephants marching through the
forest is made of itself, so was the track was made of itself for the car
of Kiritin. And struck and mangled by Partha, the hostile warriors
thought that,--Verily, Indra himself, desirous of Partha’s victory,
accompanied by all the immortals is slaying us! And they also regarded
Vijaya, who was making a terrible slaughter around, to be none else than
Death himself who having assumed the form of Arjuna, was slaying all
creatures. And the troops of the Kurus, struck by Partha, were so mangled
and shattered that the scene looked like the achievement of Partha
himself and could be compared with nothing else save what was observable
in Partha’s combats. And he severed the heads of foes, even as reapers
cut off the tops of deciduous herbs. And the Kurus all lost their energy
owing to the terror begot of Arjuna. And tossed and mangled by the
Arjuna-gale, the forest of Arjuna’s foes reddened the earth with purple
secretions. And the dust mixed with blood, uplifted by the wind, made the
very rays of the sun redder still. And soon the sun-decked sky became so
red that it looked very much like the evening. Indeed, the sun ceaseth to
shed his rays as soon as he sets, but the son of Pandu ceased not to
shoot his shafts. And that hero of inconceivable energy overwhelmed, by
means of all celestial weapons, all the great bowmen of the enemy,
although they were possessed of great prowess. And Arjuna then shot three
and seventy arrows of sharp points at Drona, and ten at Dussaha and eight
at Drona’s son, and twelve at Dussasana, and three at Kripa, the son of
Saradwat. And that slayer of foes pierced Bhishma, the son of Santanu,
with arrows, and king Duryodhana with a hundred. And, lastly, he pierced
Karna in the ear with a bearded shaft. And when that great bowmen Karna,
skilled in all weapons, was thus pierced, and his horses and car and
car-driver were all destroyed, the troops that supported him began to
break. And beholding those soldiers break and give way the son of Virata
desirous of knowing Partha’s purpose, addressed him on the field of
battle, and said, ‘O Partha, standing on this beautiful car, with myself
as charioteer, towards which division shall I go? For, commanded by thee,
I would soon take thee thither.’

“Arjuna replied, ‘O Uttara, yonder auspicious warrior whom thou seest
cased in coat of tiger-skin and stationed on his car furnished with a
blue-flag and drawn by red steeds, is Kripa. There is to be seen the van
of Kripa’s division. Take me thither. I shall show that great bowman my
swift-handedness in archery. And that warrior whose flag beareth the
device of an elegant water-pot worked in gold, is the preceptor
Drona--that foremost of all wielders of weapons. He is always an object
of regard with me, as also with all bearers of arms. Do thou, therefore,
circumambulate that great hero cheerfully. Let us bend our heads there,
for that is the eternal virtue. If Drona strikes my body first, then I
shall strike him, for then he will not be able to resent it. There, close
to Drona, that warrior whose flag beareth the device of a bow, is the
preceptor’s son, the great car-warrior Aswatthaman, who is always an
object of regard with me as also with every bearer of arms. Do thou,
therefore, stop again and again, while thou comest by his car. There,
that warrior who stayeth on his car, cased in golden mail and surrounded
by a third part of the army consisting of the most efficient troops, and
whose flag beareth the device of an elephant in a ground of gold, is the
illustrious king Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra. O hero, take
before him this thy car that is capable of grinding hostile cars. This
king is difficult of being vanquished in battle and is capable of
grinding all foes. He is regarded as the first of all Drona’s disciples
in lightness of hand. I shall, in battle, show him my superior swiftness
in archery. There, that warrior whose flag beareth the device of a stout
chord for binding elephants, is Karna, the son of Vikartana, already
known to thee. When thou comest before that wicked son of Radha, be thou
very careful, for he always challengeth me to an encounter. And that
warrior whose flag is blue and beareth the device of five stars with a
sun (in the centre), and who endued with great energy stayeth on his car
holding a huge bow in hand and wearing excellent fences, and over whose
head is an umbrella of pure white, who standeth at the head of a
multitudinous array of cars with various flags and banners like the sun
in advance of masses of black clouds, and whose mail of gold looks bright
as the sun or the moon, and who with his helmet of gold striketh terror
into my heart, is Bhishma, the son of Santanu and the grandsire of us
all. Entertained with regal splendour by Duryodhana, he is very partial
and well-affected towards that prince. Let him be approached last of all,
for he may, even now, be an obstacle to me. While fighting with me, do
thou carefully guide the steeds.’ Thus addressed by him, Virata’s son, O
king, guided Savyasachin’s car with great alacrity towards the spot where
Kripa stood anxious to fight.”


Vaisampayana said, “And the ranks of those fierce bowmen, the Kurus,
looked like masses of clouds in the rainy season drifting before a gentle
wind. And close (to those ranks of foot-soldiers) stood the enemy’s
horses ridden by terrible warriors. And there were also elephants of
terrible mien, looking resplendent in beautiful armour, ridden by skilled
combatants and urged on with iron crows and hooks. And, O king, mounted
on a beautiful car, Sakra came there accompanied by the celestials,--the
Viswas and Maruts. And crowded with gods, Yakshas, Gandharvas and Nagas,
the firmament looked as resplendent as it does when bespangled with the
planetary constellation in a cloudless night. And the celestials came
there, each on his own car, desirous of beholding the efficacy of their
weapons in human warfare, and for witnessing also the fierce and mighty
combat that would take place when Bhishma and Arjuna would meet. And
embellished with gems of every kind and capable of going everywhere at
the will of the rider, the heavenly car of the lord of the celestials,
whose roof was upheld by a hundred thousand pillars of gold with (a
central) one made entirely of jewels and gems, was conspicuous in the
clear sky. And there appeared on the scene three and thirty gods with
Vasava (at their head), and (many) Gandharvas and Rakshasas and Nagas and
Pitris, together with the great Rishis. And seated on the car of the lord
of the celestials, appeared the effulgent persons of kings Vasumanas and
Valakshas and Supratarddana, and Ashtaka and Sivi and Yayati and Nahusha
and Gaya and Manu and Puru and Raghu and Bhanu and Krisaswa and Sagara
and Nala. And there shone in a splendid array, each in its proper place
the cars of Agni and Isa and Soma and Varuna and Prajapati and Dhatri and
Vidhatri and Kuvera and Yama, and Alamvusha and Ugrasena and others, and
of the Gandharva Tumburu. And all the celestials and the Siddhas, and all
the foremost of sages came there to behold that encounter between Arjuna
and the Kurus. And the sacred fragrance of celestial garlands filled the
air like that of blossoming woods at the advent of spring. And the red
and reddish umbrellas and robes and garlands and chamaras of the gods, as
they were stationed there, looked exceedingly beautiful. And the dust of
the earth soon disappeared and (celestial) effulgence lit up everything.
And redolent of divine perfumes, the breeze began to soothe the
combatants. And the firmament seemed ablaze and exceedingly beautiful,
decked with already arrived and arriving cars of handsome and various
make, all illumined with diverse sorts of jewels, and brought thither by
the foremost of the celestials. And surrounded by the celestials, and
wearing a garland of lotuses and lilies the powerful wielder of the
thunderbolt looked exceedingly beautiful on his car. And the slayer of
Vala, although he steadfastly gazed at his son on the field of battle,
was not satiated with such gazing.”


Vaisampayana said, “Beholding the army of the Kurus arrayed in order of
battle, that descendant of the Kuru race, Partha, addressing Virata’s
son, said, ‘Do thou proceed to the spot where Kripa, the son of Saradwat,
is going by the southern side of that car whose flag is seen to bear the
device of a golden altar.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of Dhananjaya, the son of
Virata urged, without a moment’s delay, those steeds of silvery hue
decked in golden armour. And making them adopt, one after another, every
kind of the swifter paces, he urged those fiery steeds resembling the
moon in colour. And versed in horse-lore, Uttara, having approached the
Kuru host, turned back those steeds endued with the speed of the wind.
And skilled in guiding vehicles, the prince of Matsya, sometimes wheeling
about, and sometimes proceeding in circular mazes, and sometimes turning
to the left, began to bewilder the Kurus. And wheeling round, the
intrepid and mighty son of Virata at last approached the car of Kripa,
and stood confronting him. Then announcing his own name, Arjuna
powerfully blew that best of conchs called Devadatta, of loud blare. And
blown on the field of battle by the mighty Jishnu, the blare of that
conch was heard like the splitting of a mountain. And seeing that the
conch did not break into a hundred fragments when blown by Arjuna, the
Kurus with all their warriors began to applaud it highly. And having
reached the very heavens, that sound coming back was heard even like the
crash of the thunderbolt hurled by Maghavat on the mountain breast.
Thereupon that heroic and intrepid and mighty car-warrior, Saradwat’s son
Kripa, endued with strength and prowess, waxing wroth at Arjuna, and
unable to bear that sound and eager for fight, took up his own
sea-begotten conch and blew it vehemently. And filling the three worlds
with that sound, that foremost of car-warriors took up a large bow and
twanged the bow-string powerfully. And those mighty car-warriors, equal
unto two suns, standing opposed to each other, shone like two masses of
autumnal clouds. Then Saradwat’s son quickly pierced Partha, that slayer
of hostile heroes, with ten swift and whetted arrows capable of entering
into the very vitals. And Pritha’s son also, on his part, drawing that
foremost of weapons, the Gandiva, celebrated over the world, shot
innumerable iron-arrows, all capable of penetrating into the very core of
the body. Thereupon Kripa, by means of whetted shafts, cut into hundreds
and thousands of fragments, those blood-drinking arrows of Partha before
they could come up. Then that mighty car-warrior, Partha also, in wrath
displaying various manoeuvres, covered all sides with a shower of arrows.
And covering the entire welkin with his shafts, that mighty warrior of
immeasurable soul, the son of Pritha, enveloped Kripa with hundred of
shafts. And sorely afflicted by those whetted arrows resembling flames of
fire, Kripa waxed wroth and quickly afflicting the high-souled Partha of
immeasurable prowess with ten thousand shafts, set up on the field of
battle a loud roar. Then the heroic Arjuna quickly pierced the four
steeds of his adversary with four fatal arrows shot from the Gandiva,
sharp and straight, and furnished with golden wings. And pierced by means
of those whetted arrows resembling flames of fire those steeds suddenly
reared themselves, and in consequence Kripa reeled off his place. And
seeing Gautama thrown off his place, the slayer of hostile heroes, the
descendant of the Kuru race, out of regard for his opponent’s dignity,
ceased to discharge his shafts at him. Then regaining his proper place,
Gautama quickly pierced Savyasachin with ten arrows furnished with
feathers of the Kanka bird. Then with a crescent-shaped arrow of keen
edge, Partha cut off Kripa’s bow and leathern fences. And soon Partha cut
off Kripa’s coat of mail also by means of arrows capable of penetrating
the very vitals, but he did not wound his person. And divested of his
coat of mail, his body resembled that of a serpent which hath in season
cast off its slough. And as soon as his bow had been cut off by Partha,
Gautama took up another and stringed it in a trice. And strange to say,
that bow of him was also cut off by Kunti’s son, by means of straight
shafts. And in this way that slayer of hostile heroes, the son of Pandu,
cut off other bows as soon as they were taken up, one after another, by
Saradwat’s son. And when all his bows were thus cut off, that mighty hero
hurled, from his car, at Pandu’s son, a javelin like unto the blazing
thunderbolt. Thereupon, as the gold-decked javelin came whizzing through
the air with the flash of a meteor, Arjuna cut it off by means of ten
arrows. And beholding his dart thus cut off by the intelligent Arjuna,
Kripa quickly took up another bow and almost simultaneously shot a number
of crescent-shaped arrows. Partha, however, quickly cut them into
fragments by means of ten keen-edged shafts, and endued with great
energy, the son of Pritha then, inflamed with wrath on the field of
battle, discharged three and ten arrows whetted on stone and resembling
flames of fire. And with one of these he cut off the yoke of his
adversary’s car, and with four pierced his four steeds, and with the
sixth he severed the head of his antagonist’s car-driver from off his
body. And with three that mighty car-warrior pierced, in that encounter,
the triple bamboo-pole of Kripa’s car and with two, its wheels. And with
the twelfth arrow he cut off Kripa’s flagstaff. And with the thirteenth
Falguni, who was like Indra himself as if smiling in derision, pierced
Kripa in the breast. Then with his bow cut off, his car broken, his
steeds slain, his car-driver killed, Kripa leapt down and taking up a
mace quickly hurled it at Arjuna. But that heavy and polished mace hurled
by Kripa was sent back along its course, struck by means of Arjuna’s
arrows. And then the warriors (of Kripa’s division), desirous of rescuing
the wrathful son of Saradwat encountered Partha from all sides and covered
him with their arrows. Then the son of Virata, turning the steed to the
left began to perform circuitous evolution called Yamaka and thus
withstood all those warriors. And those illustrious bulls among men,
taking Kripa with them who had been deprived of his car, led him away
from the vicinity of Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti.”


Vaisampayana said, “After Kripa had thus been taken away, the invincible
Drona of red steeds, taking up his bow to which he had already stringed
an arrow, rushed towards Arjuna of white steeds. And beholding at no
great distance from him the preceptor advancing on his golden car, Arjuna
that foremost of victorious warriors, addressing Uttara, said, ‘Blessed
be thou, O friend, carry me before that warrior on whose high banner-top
is seen a golden altar resembling a long flame of fire and decked with
numerous flags placed around, and whose car is drawn by steeds that are
red and large, exceedingly handsome and highly-trained, of face pleasant
and of quiet mien, and like unto corals in colour and with faces of
coppery hue, for that warrior is Drona with whom I desire to fight. Of
long arms and endued with mighty energy possessed of strength and beauty
of person, celebrated over all the worlds for his prowess, resembling
Usanas himself in intelligence and Vrihaspati in knowledge of morality,
he is conversant with the four Vedas and devoted to the practice of
Brahmacharya virtues. O friend, the use of the celestial weapons together
with the mysteries of their withdrawal and the entire science of weapons,
always reside in him. Forgiveness, self-control, truth, abstention from
injury, rectitude of conduct,--these and countless other virtues always
dwell in that regenerate one. I desire to fight with that highly-blessed
one on the field. Therefore, take me before the preceptor and carry me
thither, O Uttara.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Arjuna, Virata’s son urged
his steeds decked with gold towards the car of Bharadwaja’s son. And
Drona also rushed towards the impetuously advancing Partha, the son of
Pandu,--that foremost of car-warriors,--like an infuriate elephant
rushing towards an infuriate compeer. And the son of Bharadwaja then blew
his conch whose blare resembled that of a hundred trumpets. And at that
sound the whole army become agitated like the sea in a tempest. And
beholding those excellent steeds red in hue mingling in battle with
Arjuna’s steeds of swan-like whiteness endued with the speed of the mind,
all the spectators were filled with wonder. And seeing on the field of
battle those car-warriors--the preceptor Drona and his disciple
Partha--both endued with prowess, both invincible, both well-trained,
both possessed of great energy and great strength, engaged with each
other, that mighty host of the Bharatas began to tremble frequently. And
that mighty car-warrior Partha, possessed of great prowess and filled
with joy upon reaching Drona’s car on his own, saluted the preceptor. And
that slayer of hostile heroes, the mighty armed son of Kunti, then
addressed Drona in an humble and sweet tone, saying, ‘Having completed
our exile in the woods, we are now desirous of avenging our wrongs. Even
invincible in battle, it doth not behove thee to be angry with us. O
sinless one, I will not strike thee unless thou strikest me first. Even
this is my intention. It behoveth thee to act as thou choosest.’ Thus
addressed Drona discharged at him more than twenty arrows. But the
light-handed Partha cut them off before they could reach him. And at
this, the mighty Drona, displaying his lightness of hand in the use of
weapons, covered Partha’s car with a thousand arrows. And desirous of
angering Partha, that hero of immeasurable soul, then covered his steeds
of silvery whiteness with arrows whetted on stone and winged with the
feathers of the Kanka bird. And when the battle between Drona and Kiritin
thus commenced, both of them discharging in the encounter arrows of
blazing splendour, both well-known for their achievements, both equal to
the wind itself in speed, both conversant with celestial weapons, and
both endued with mighty energy, began shooting clouds of arrows to
bewilder the royal Kshatriyas. And all the warriors that were assembled
there were filled with wonder at sight of all this. And they all admired
Drona who quickly shot clouds of arrows exclaiming,--‘Well done! Well
done! Indeed, who else save Falguna, is worthy of fighting with Drona in
battle? Surely the duties of a Kshatriya are stern, for Arjuna fighteth
with even his own preceptor!’--And it was thus that they who stood on the
field of battle said unto one another. And inflamed with fire, those
mighty-armed heroes standing before other, and each incapable of
overcoming the other, covered each other with arrowy showers. And
Bharadwaja’s son, waxing worth, drew his large and unconquerable bow
plated on the back with gold, and pierced Falguna with his arrows. And
discharging at Arjuna’s car innumerable whetted arrows possessed of solar
effulgence, he entirely shrouded the light of the sun. And that great
car-warrior of mighty arms, violently pierced Pritha’s son with
keen-edged shafts even as the clouds shower upon a mountain. Then taking
up that foremost of bows, the Gandiva, destructive of foes and capable of
withstanding the greatest strain, the impetuous son of Pandu cheerfully
discharged countless shafts of various kinds adorned with gold, and that
powerful warrior also baffled in a moment Drona’s arrowy shower by means
of those shafts shot from his own bow. And at this the spectators
wondered greatly. And the handsome Dhananjaya, the son of Pritha, ranging
on his car, displayed his weapons on all sides at the same time. And the
entire welkin covered with his arrows, became one wide expanse of shade.
And at this Drona become invisible like the sun enveloped in mist. And
shrouded by those excellent arrows on all sides, Drona looked like a
mountain on fire. And beholding his own car completely enveloped by the
arrows of Pritha’s son, Drona that ornament of battle, bent his terrible
and foremost of bows whose noise was as loud as that of the clouds. And
drawing that first of weapons, which was like unto a circle of fire, he
discharged a cloud of keen-edged shafts. And then there were heard on the
field loud sounds like the splitting of bamboos set on fire. And that
warrior of immeasurable soul, shooting from his bow arrows furnished with
golden wings, covered all sides, shrouding the very light of the sun. And
those arrows with knots well-peeled off, and furnished with golden wings,
looked like flocks of birds in the sky. And the arrows discharged by
Drona from his bow, touching one another at the wings, appeared like one
endless line in the sky. And those heroes, thus discharging their arrows
decked with gold, seemed to cover the sky with showers of meteors. And
furnished with feathers of the Kanka bird, those arrows looked like rows
of cranes ranging in the autumnal sky. And the fierce and terrible
encounter that took place between the illustrious Drona and Arjuna
resembled that between Virata and Vasava of old. And discharging arrows
at each other from bows drawn at their fullest stretch, they resembled
two elephants assailing each other with their tusks. And those wrathful
warriors--those ornaments of battle--fighting strictly according to
established usage, displayed in that conflict various celestial weapons
in due order. Then that foremost of victorious men, Arjuna, by means of
his keen shafts resisted the whetted arrows shot by that best of
preceptors. And displaying before the spectators various weapons, that
hero of terrible prowess covered the sky with various kinds of arrows.
And beholding that tiger among men, Arjuna, endued with fierce energy and
intent upon striking him, that foremost of warriors and best of
preceptors (from affection) began to fight with him playfully by means of
smooth and straight arrows. And Bharadwaja’s son fought on with Falguna,
resisting with his own the celestial weapons shot by the former. And the
fight that took place between those enraged lions among men, incapable of
bearing each other, was like unto encounter between the gods and the
Danavas. And the son of Pandu repeatedly baffled with his own, the
Aindra, the Vayavya, and the Agneya weapons that were shot by Drona. And
discharging keen shafts, those mighty bowmen, by their arrowy showers
completely covered the sky and made a wide expanse of shade. And then the
arrows shot by Arjuna, falling on the bodies of hostile warriors,
produced the crash of thunderbolt. O king, elephants, cars, and horses,
bathed in blood, looked like Kinsuka trees crowned with flowers. And in
that encounter between Drona and Arjuna, beholding the field covered with
arms decked with bangles, and gorgeously-attired car-warriors, and coats
of mail variegated with gold, and with banners lying scattered all about,
and with warriors slain by means of Partha’s arrows, the Kuru host became
panic-stricken. And shaking their bows capable of bearing much strain,
those combatants began to shroud and weaken each other with their shafts.
And, O bull of the Bharata race, the encounter that took place between
Drona and Kunti’s son was dreadful in the extreme and resembled that
between Vali and Vasava. And staking their very lives, they began to
pierce each other with straight arrows shot from their fully-stretched
bow-strings. And a voice was heard in the sky applauding Drona, and
saying, ‘Difficult is the feat performed by Drona, inasmuch as he
fighteth with Arjuna,--that grinder of foes, that warrior endued with
mighty energy, of firm grasp, and invincible in battle,--that conqueror
of both celestials and Daityas, that foremost of all car-warriors.’ And
beholding Partha’s infallibility, training, fleetness of hand, and the
range also of Arjuna’s arrows, Drona became amazed. And, O bull of the
Bharata race, lifting up his excellent bow, the Gandiva the unforbearing
Partha drew it now with one hand and now with another shot an arrowy
shower. And beholding that shower resembling a flight of locusts, the
spectators wondering applauded him exclaiming, ‘Excellent’! ‘Excellent’!
And so ceaselessly did he shoot his arrows that the very air was unable
to penetrate the thick array. And the spectators could not perceive any
interval between the taking up of the arrows and letting them off. And in
that fierce encounter characterised by lightness of hand in the discharge
of weapons, Partha began to shoot his arrows more quickly than before.
And then all at once hundreds and thousands of straight arrows fell upon
Drona’s car. And, O bull of the Bharata race, beholding Drona completely
covered by the wielder of the Gandiva with his arrows, the Kuru army set
up exclamation of ‘Oh’! and ‘Alas’! And Maghavat, together with those
Gandharvas and Apsaras that have come there, applauded the fleetness of
Partha’s hand. And that mighty car-warrior, the preceptor’s son, then
resisted the Pandava with a mighty array of cars. And although enraged
with Arjuna, yet Aswatthaman mentally admired that feat of the
high-souled son of Pritha. And waxing wroth, he rushed towards Partha,
and discharged at him an arrowy shower like a heavy down-pour by the
cloud. And turning his steeds towards Drona’s son, Partha gave Drona an
opportunity to leave the field. And thereupon the latter, wounded in that
terrible encounter, and his mail and banner gone sped away by the aid of
swift horses.”


Vaisampayana said, “Then, O mighty king, Drona’s son rushed to an
encounter with Arjuna in battle. And beholding his rush to the conflict
like a hurricane, showering shafts like a rain charged cloud Pritha’s son
received him with a cloud of arrows. And terrible was the encounter
between them, like that between the gods and the Danavas. And they shot
arrows at each other like Virata and Vasava. And the welkin being
enveloped on all sides with arrows, the sun was completely hidden, and
the air itself was hushed. And, O conqueror of hostile cities, as they
assailed and struck each other, loud sounds arose as of bamboos on fire.
And, O king, Aswatthaman’s horses being sorely afflicted by Arjuna, they
became bewildered and could not ascertain which way to go. And as
Pritha’s son ranged on the field, the powerful son of Drona finding an
opportunity, cut off the string of the Gandiva with an arrow furnished
with a horse-shoe head. And beholding that extraordinary feat of his, the
celestials applauded him highly. And exclaiming--‘Well done’!--‘Well
done’! Drona and Bhishma, and Karna, and the mighty warrior Kripa, all
applauded that feat of his greatly. And the son of Drona, drawing his
excellent bow, pierced with his shafts, furnished with the feathers of
the Kanka bird, the breast of Partha, that bull among warriors.
Thereupon, with a loud laughter, the mighty-armed son of Pritha attached
a strong and fresh string to Gandiva. And moistening his bow-string with
the sweat that stood on his forehead resembling the crescent moon,
Pritha’s son advanced towards his adversary, even as an infuriated leader
of a herd of elephants rusheth at another elephant. And the encounter
that took place between those two matchless heroes on the field of battle
was exceedingly fierce and made the bristles of the spectators stand on
their ends. And as those heroes endued with mighty energy fought on, the
two mighty elephants, the Kurus beheld them with wonder. And those brave
bulls among men assailed each other with arrows of snaky forms and
resembling blazing fires. And as the couple of quivers belonging to the
Pandava was inexhaustible, that hero was able to remain on the field
immovable as a mountain. And as Aswatthaman’s arrows, in consequence of
his ceaseless discharge in that conflict, were quickly exhausted, it was
for this that Arjuna prevailed over his adversary. Then Karna, drawing
his large bow with great force twanged the bow-string. And thereupon
arose loud exclamation of ‘Oh’! and ‘Alas’! And Pritha’s son, casting his
eyes towards the spot where that bow was twanged, beheld before him the
son of Radha. And at that sight his wrath was greatly excited. And
inflamed with ire and desirous of slaying Karna, that bull of the Kuru
race stared at him with rolling eyes. And, O king, beholding Partha turn
away from Aswatthaman’s side, the Kuru warriors discharged thousands of
arrows on Arjuna. And the mighty-armed Dhananjaya, that conqueror of
foes, leaving Drona’s son, all on a sudden rushed towards Karna. And
rushing towards Karna, with eyes reddened in anger the son of Kunti,
desirous of a single combat with him, said these words.”


“Arjuna said, ‘The time, O Karna, hath now come for making good thy
loquacious boast in the midst of the assembly, viz., that there is none
equal to thee in fight. Today, O Karna, contending with me in terrible
conflict, thou shalt know thy own strength, and shalt no longer disregard
others. Abandoning good breeding, thou hadst uttered many harsh words,
but this that thou endeavourest to do, is, I think, exceedingly
difficult. Do thou now, O Radha’s son, contending with me in the sight of
the Kurus, make good what thou hadst said before in disregard of myself.
Thou who hadst witnessed Panchala’s princess outraged by villains in the
midst of the court, do thou now reap the fruit of that act of thine.
Fettered by the bonds of morality before, I desisted from vengeance then.
Behold now, O son of Radha, the fruit of that wrath in conflict at hand.
O wicked wight, we have suffered much misery in that forest for full
twelve years. Reap thou today the fruits of our concentrated vengeance.
Come, O Karna, cope with me in battle. Let these thy Kaurava warriors
witness the conflict.’ Hearing these words, Karna replied, ‘Do thou, O
Partha, accomplish in deed what thou sayst in words. The world knows that
thy words verily exceed thy deed. That thou hadst foreborne formerly was
owing to thy inability to do anything. If we witness thy prowess even
now, we may acknowledge its truth. If thy past forbearance was due to thy
having been bound by the bonds of morality, truly thou art equally bound
now although thou regardest thyself free. Having as thou sayst, passed
thy exile in the woods in strict accordance with thy pledge and being
therefore weakened by practising an ascetic course of life, how canst
thou desire a combat with me now? O Pritha’s son, if Sakra himself fight
on thy side, still I would feel no anxiety in putting forth my prowess.
Thy wish, O son of Kunti, is about to be gratified. Do thou fight with me
now, and behold my strength.’ Hearing this, Arjuna said, ‘Even now, O
Radha’s son, thou hadst fled from battle with me, and it is for this that
thou livest although thy younger brother hath been slain. What other
person, save thee, having beheld his younger brother slain in battle
would himself fly from the field, and boast as thou dost, amid good and
true men?’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having said these words unto Karna, the
invincible Vibhatsu rushed at him and charged a volley, of shafts capable
of penetrating through a coat of mail. But that mighty car-warrior,
Karna, received with great alacrity that discharge with an arrowy shower
of his own, heavy as the downpour of the clouds. And that fierce volley
of arrows covered all sides and severally pierced the steeds and arms and
leathern fences of the combatants. And incapable of putting up with that
assault, Arjuna cut off the strings of Karna’s quiver by means of a
straight and sharp arrow. Thereupon, taking out from his quiver another
arrow, Karna pierced the Pandava in the hand at which the latter’s hold
of the bow was loosened. And then the mighty-armed Partha cut off Karna’s
bow into fragments. And Karna replied by hurling a dart at his adversary,
but Arjuna cut it off by means of his arrows. And then the warriors that
followed the son of Radha rushed in crowds at Arjuna, but Partha sent
them all to the abode of Yama by means of arrows shot from the Gandiva.
And Vibhatsu slew the steeds of Karna by means of sharp and tough arrows
shot from the bow-string drawn to the ear, and deprived of life they
dropped down on the ground. And taking another sharp and blazing arrow
endued with great energy, the mighty son of Kunti pierced the breast of
Karna. And that arrow, cleaving through his mail, penetrated into his
body. And at this, Karna’s vision was obscured and his senses left him.
And regaining consciousness, he felt a great pain, and leaving the combat
fled in a northernly direction. And at this, the mighty car-warrior
Arjuna and Uttara, both began to address him contumely.”


Vaisampayana said, “Having defeated Vikartana’s son, Arjuna said unto
the son of Virata, ‘Take me towards that division where yonder device of
a golden palmyra is seen. There our grandfather, Santanu’s son, like unto
a celestial, waiteth, desirous of an encounter with me.’ Thereupon,
beholding that mighty host thronged with cars and horses and elephants,
Uttara, sorely pierced with arrows, said, ‘O hero, I am no longer able to
guide thy excellent steeds. My spirits droop and my mind is exceedingly
bewildered. All the directions seem to be whirling before my eyes in
consequence of the energy of the celestial weapons used by thee and the
Kurus. I have been deprived of my senses by the stench of fat and blood
and flesh. Beholding all this, from terror my mind is, as it were, cleft
in twain. Never before had I beheld such a muster of horses in battle.
And at the flapping of fences, and the blare of conchs, the leonine roars
made by the warriors and the shrieks of elephants, and the twang of the
Gandiva resembling the thunder, I have, O hero, been so stupefied that I
have been deprived of both hearing and memory. And, O hero, beholding
thee incessantly drawing to a circle, in course of the conflict, the
Gandiva which resembleth a circle of fire, my sight faileth me and my
heart is rent asunder. And seeing thy fierce form in battle, like that of
the wielder of the Pinaka while inflamed with wrath, and looking also at
the terrible arrows shot by thee, I am filled with fear. I fail to see
when thou takest up thy excellent arrows, when thou fixest them on the
bow-string, and when thou lettest them off. And though all this is done
before my eyes, yet, deprived of my senses, I do not see it. My spirits
are drooping and earth itself seems to be swimming before me. I have no
strength to hold the whip and the reins.’ Hearing these words, Arjuna
said, ‘Do thou not fear. Assure thyself. Thou also hast, on the field of
battle performed, O bull among men, wonderful feats. Blessed be thou,
thou art a prince and born in the illustrious line of Matsyas. It
behoveth thee not to feel dispirited in chastising thy foes. Therefore, O
prince, stationed on my car, muster all thy fortitude and hold the reins
of my steeds, O slayer of foes, when I once more become engaged in

Vaisampayana continued, “Having said this unto Virata’s son, that best
of men and foremost of car-warriors, the mighty-armed Arjuna, again
addressed the son of Virata, saying. ‘Take me without delay to the van of
Bhishma’s division. I will cut off his very bow-string in the battle.
Thou shalt behold today the celestial weapons of blazing beauty, shot by
me, look like flashes of lightning disporting amid the clouds in the sky.
The Kauravas shall behold the gold-decked back of my Gandiva today, and
assembled together the foe shall dispute, saying,--“By which hand of his,
the right or the left, doth he shoot?” And I shall cause a dreadful river
(of death) to flow today towards the other world with blood for its
waters and cars for its eddies, and elephants for its crocodiles. I shall
today, with my straight arrows, extirpate the Kuru forest having hands
and feet and heads and backs and arms for the branches of its trees.
Alone, bow in hand, vanquishing the Kuru host, a hundred paths shall open
before me like those of a forest in conflagration. Struck by me thou
shalt today behold the Kuru army moving round and round like a wheel
(unable to fly off the field). I shall show thee today my excellent
training in arrows and weapons. Stay thou on my car firmly, whether the
ground be smooth or uneven. I can pierce with my winged arrows even the
mountain of Sumeru that stands touching the very heavens. I slew of old,
at Indra’s command, hundreds and thousands of Paulomas and Kalakhanjas in
battle. I have obtained my firmness of grasp from Indra, and my lightness
of hand from Brahman, and I have learnt various modes of fierce attack
and defence amid crowds of foes from Prajapati. I vanquished, on the
other side of the great ocean, sixty thousands of car-warriors--all
fierce archers--residing in Hiranyapura. Behold, now I defeat the
multitudinous host of the Kurus like a tempest scattering a heap of
cotton. With my fiery arrows I shall today set the Kuru-forest to fire,
having banners for its trees, the foot-soldiers for its shrubs, and the
car-warriors for its beasts of prey. Like unto the wielder of the
thunderbolt overthrowing the Danavas, alone I shall, with my straight
arrows, bring down from the chambers of their cars the mighty warrior of
the Kuru army stationed therein and struggling in the conflict to the
best of their power. I have obtained from Rudra the Raudra, from Varuna
the Varuna, from Agni the Agneya, from the god of Wind the Vayava, and
from Sakra the thunderbolt and other weapons. I shall certainly
exterminate the fierce Dhartarashtra-forest though protected by many
leonine warriors. Therefore, O Virata’s son, let thy fears be dispelled.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus assured by Savyasachin, the son of Virata
penetrated into that fierce array of cars protected by Bhishma. The son
of Ganga, however, of fierce deeds, cheerfully withstood the mighty-armed
hero advancing from desire of vanquishing the heroes in battle. Jishnu,
then, confronting Bhishma, cut off his standard clean off at the roots by
shooting a gold-decked arrow pierced by which it fell to the ground. And
at this, four mighty warriors, Dussasana and Vikarna and Dussaha and
Vivinsati, skilled in weapons and endued with great energy, and all
decked with handsome garlands and ornaments, rushed towards that terrible
bowman. And advancing towards Vibhatsu--that fierce archer, these all
encompassed him around. Then the heroic Dussasana pierced the son of
Virata with a crescent-shaped arrow and he pierced Arjuna with another
arrow in the breast. And Jishnu, confronting Dussasana, cut off by means
of a sharp-edged arrow furnished with vulturine wings his adversary’s bow
plaited with gold, and then pierced his person in the breast by means of
five arrows. And afflicted by the arrows of Partha, Dussasana fled,
leaving the combat. Then Vikarna, the son of Dhritarashtra, pierced
Arjuna--that slayer of hostile heroes, by means of sharp and straight
arrows furnished with vulturine wings. But the son of Kunti within a
moment hit him also in the forehead with straight shafts. And pierced by
Arjuna, he fell down from his car. And at this, Dussaha, supported by
Vivinsati, covered Arjuna with a cloud of sharp arrows, impelled by the
desire of rescuing his brother. Dhananjaya, however, without the least
anxiety, pierced both of them almost at the same instant by means of a
couple of keen-edged arrows and then slew the steeds of both. And there
upon, both those sons of Dhritarashtra, deprived of their steeds and
their bodies mangled were taken away by the warrior behind them who had
rushed forward with other cars. Then the unvanquished Vibhatsu, the
mighty son of Kunti, decked with diadem and sure of aim, simultaneously
attacked all sides with his arrows.”


Vaisampayana said, “Then, O thou of the Bharata race, all the great
car-warriors of the Kurus, united together, began to assail Arjuna to the
best of their might from all sides. But that hero of immeasurable soul
completely covered all those mighty car-warriors with clouds of arrows,
even as the mist covereth the mountains. And the roars of huge elephants
and conchs, mingling together, produced a loud uproar. And penetrating
through the bodies of elephants and horses as also through steel coats of
mail, the arrows shot by Partha fell by thousands. And shooting shafts
with the utmost celerity, the son of Pandu seemed in that contest to
resemble the blazing sun of an autumnal midday. And afflicted with fear,
the car-warriors began to leap down from their cars and the
horse-soldiers from horse-back, while the foot-soldiers began to fly in
all directions. And loud was the clatter made by Arjuna’s shafts as they
cleft the coats of mail belonging to mighty warriors, made of steel,
silver, and copper. And the field was soon covered with the corpses of
warriors mounted on elephants and horses, all mangled by the shafts of
Partha of great impetuosity like unto sighing snakes. And then it seemed
as if Dhananjaya, bow in hand, was dancing on the field of battle. And
sorely affrighted at the twang of the Gandiva resembling the noise of the
thunder, many were the combatants that fled from that terrible conflict.
And the field of battle was bestrewn with severed heads decked with
turbans, ear-rings and necklaces of gold, and the earth looked beautiful
by being scattered all over with human trunks mangled by shafts, and arms
having bows in their grasp and hands decked with ornaments. And, O bull
of the Bharata race, in consequence of heads cut off by whetted shafts
ceaselessly falling on the ground, it seemed as if a shower of stones
fell from the sky. And that Partha of formidable prowess, displaying his
fierceness, now ranged the field of battle, pouring the terrible fire of
his wrath upon the sons of Dhritarashtra. And beholding the fierce
prowess of Arjuna who thus scorched the hostile host, the Kuru warriors,
in the very presence of Duryodhana, became dispirited and ceased to
fight. And, O Bharata, having struck terror into that host and routed
those mighty car-warriors, that fore-most of victors, ranged on the
field. And the son of Pandu then created on the field of battle a
dreadful river of blood, with waving billows, like unto the river of
death that is created by Time at the end of the Yuga, having the
dishevelled hair of the dead and the dying for its floating moss and
straw, with bows and arrows for its boats, fierce in the extreme and
having flesh and animal juices for its mire. And coats of mail and
turbans floated thick on its surface. And elephants constituted its
alligators and the cars its rafts. And marrow and fat and blood
constituted its currents. And it was calculated to strike terror into the
hearts of the spectators. And dreadful to behold, and fearful in the
extreme, and resounding with the yells of ferocious beasts, keen edged
weapons constituted its crocodiles. And Rakshasas and other cannibals
haunted it from one end to the other. And strings of pearls constituted
its ripples, and various excellent ornaments, its bubbles. And having
swarms of arrows for its fierce eddies and steeds for its tortoises, it
was incapable of being crossed. And the mighty car warrior constituted
its large island, and it resounded with the bleat of conchs and the sound
of drums. And the river of blood that Partha created was incapable of
being crossed. Indeed, so swift-handed was Arjuna that the spectators
could not perceive any interval between his taking up an arrow, and
fixing it on the bow-string, and letting it off by a stretch of the


Vaisampayana said, “Then while a great havoc was being made among the
Kurus, Santanu’s son, Bhishma, and grandsire of the Bharatas rushed at
Arjuna, taking up an excellent bow adorned with gold, and many arrows
also of keen points and capable of piercing into the very vitals of the
foe and afflicting him sorely. And in consequence of a white umbrella
being held over his head, that tiger among men looked beautiful like unto
a hill at sunrise. And the son of Ganga, blowing his conch cheered the
sons of Dhritarashtra, and wheeling along his right came upon Vibhatsu
and impeded his course. And that slayer of hostile heroes, the son of
Kunti, beholding him approach, received him with a glad heart, like a
hill receiving a rain-charged cloud. And Bhishma, endued with great
energy, pierced Partha’s flag-staff with eight arrows. The arrows
reaching the flag-staff of Pandu’s son, struck the blazing ape and those
creatures also stationed in the banner-top. And then the son of Pandu,
with a mighty javelin of sharp edge cut off Bhishma’s umbrella which
instantly fell on the ground. And then the light-handed son of Kunti
struck his adversary’s flag-staff also with many shafts, and then his
steeds and then the couple of drivers that protected Bhishma’s flanks.
And unable to bear this, Bhishma though cognisant of the Pandava’s might,
covered Dhananjaya with a powerful celestial weapon. And the son of
Pandu, of immeasurable soul, hurling in return a celestial weapon at
Bhishma, received that from Bhishma like a hill receiving a deep mass of
clouds. And the encounter that took place between Partha and Bhishma, was
fierce and the Kaurava warriors with their troops stood as lookers on.
And in the conflict between Bhishma and the son of Pandu, shafts striking
against shafts shone in the air like fireflies in the season of rains.
And, O king, in consequence of Partha’s shooting arrows with both his
right and left hands, the bent Gandiva seemed like a continuous circle of
fire. And the son of Kunti then covered Bhishma with hundreds of sharp
and keen-edged arrows, like a cloud covering the mountain-breast with its
heavy downpour. And Bhishma baffled with his own arrows that arrowy
shower, like the bank resisting the swelling sea, and covered the son of
Pandu in return. And those warriors, cut into a thousand pieces in
battle, fell fast in the vicinity of Falguna’s car. And then there was a
downpour, from the car of Pandu’s son, of arrows furnished with golden
wing, and raining through the sky like a flight of locusts. And Bhishma
again repelled that arrowy shower with hundreds of whetted shafts shot by
him. And then the Kauravas exclaimed.--‘Excellent! Excellent!’--Indeed,
Bhishma hath performed an exceedingly difficult feat inasmuch as he hath
fought with Arjuna. Dhananjaya is mighty and youthful, and dexterous and
swift of hand. Who else, save Bhishma, the son of Santanu, or Krishna,
the son of Devaki, or the mighty son of Bharadwaja, the foremost of
preceptors, is able to bear the impetus of Partha in battle? And
repelling weapons with weapons, those two bulls of the Bharata race, both
endued with great might, fought on playfully and infatuated the eyes of
all created beings. And those illustrious warriors ranged on the field of
battle, using the celestials weapons obtained from Prajapati and Indra,
and Agni and the fierce Rudra, and Kuvera, and Varuna, and Yama, and
Vayu. And all beings were greatly surprised, upon beholding those
warriors engaged in combat. And they all exclaimed,--‘Bravo Partha of long
arms! Bravo Bhishma!’ Indeed, this application of celestial weapons that
is being witnessed in the combat between Bhishma and Partha is rare among
human beings.”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus raged that conflict with weapons between
those warriors conversant with all weapons. And when that conflict of
celestial weapons ceased, then commenced a conflict with arrows. And
Jishnu approaching his opponent, cut off with an arrow sharp like a razor
the gold-decked bow of Bhishma. Within the twinkling of the eye, however,
Bhishma, that mighty-armed and great car-warrior, took up another bow and
stringed it. And inflamed with wrath, he showered upon Dhananjaya a cloud
of arrows. And Arjuna, too, endued with great energy, rained upon Bhishma
innumerable sharp-pointed and keen-edged arrows. And Bhishma also shot
clouds of arrows upon Pandu’s son. And conversant with celestial weapons
and engaged in shooting at each other, arrows of keen points, no
distinction, O king, could then be perceived between those illustrious
warriors. And that mighty car-warrior, Kunti’s son, covered with a
diadem, and the heroic son of Santanu, obscured the ten directions with
their arrows. And the Pandava covered Bhishma, and Bhishma also covered
the Pandava, with clouds of shafts. And, O king, wonderful was this
combat that took place in this world of men. And the heroic warriors that
protected Bhishma’s car, slain by the son of Pandu, fell prostrate, O
monarch, beside the car of Kunti’s son. And the feathery arrows of
Swetavahana, shot from the Gandiva, fell in all directions as if with the
object of making a wholesale slaughter of the foe. And issuing forth from
his car those blazing arrows furnished with golden wings looked like rows
of swans in the sky. And all the celestials with Indra, stationed in the
firmament, gazed with wonder upon another celestial weapon hurled with
great force by that wonderful archer Arjuna. And beholding that wonderful
weapon of great beauty, the mighty Gandiva, Chitrasena, highly pleased,
addressed the lord of celestials, saying, ‘Behold these arrows shot by
Partha coursing through the sky in one continuous line. Wonderful is the
dexterity of Jishnu in evolving this celestial weapon! Human beings are
incapable of shooting such a weapon, for it does not exist among men. How
wonderful again is this concourse of mighty weapons existing from days of
old! No interval can be perceived between his taking up the arrows,
fixing them on the bow-string, and letting them off by stretching the
Gandiva. The soldiers are incapable of even looking at the son of Pandu,
who is like unto the midday sun blazing in the sky. So also none ventures
to look at Bhishma, the son of Ganga. Both are famous for their
achievements, and both are of fierce prowess. Both are equal in feats of
heroism, and both are difficult of being vanquished in battle.’

“Thus addressed by the Gandharva about that combat between Partha and
Bhishma, the lord of the celestials, O Bharata, paid proper respect unto
both by a shower of celestial flowers. Meanwhile, Bhishma, the son of
Santanu, assailed Arjuna on the left side, while that drawer of the bow
with either hands was on the point of piercing him. And at this,
Vibhatsu, laughing aloud, cut off with an arrow of keen edge and
furnished with vulturine wings, the bow of Bhishma, that hero of solar
effulgence. And then Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, pierced Bhishma in the
breast with ten shafts although the latter was contending with all his
prowess. And sorely afflicted with pain Ganga’s son of mighty arms and
irresistible in battle, stood for a long time leaning on the pole of his
car. And beholding him deprived of consciousness the driver of his
car-steeds, calling to mind the instructions about protecting the
warriors when in a swoon, led him away for safety.”


Vaisampayana said, “After Bhishma had fled, leaving the van of battle,
the illustrious son of Dhritarashtra hoisting high his flag approached
Arjuna, bow in hand and setting up a loud roar. And with a spear-headed
shaft shot from his bow stretched to the ear, he pierced on the forehead
of that terrible bowman of fierce prowess, Dhananjaya, ranging amidst the
foes. And pierced with that keen shaft of golden point on the forehead,
that hero of famous deeds looked resplendent, O king, like unto a
beautiful hill with a single peak. And cut by that arrow, the warm
life-blood gushed out profusely from the wound. And the blood trickling
down his body shone beautifully like a wreath of golden flowers. And
struck by Duryodhana with the shaft, the swift-handed Arjuna of unfailing
strength, swelling with rage, pierced the king in return, taking up
arrows that were endued with the energy of snakes of virulent poison. And
Duryodhana of formidable energy attacked Partha, and Partha also, that
foremost of heroes, attacked Duryodhana. And it was that those foremost
of men, both born in the race of Ajamida, struck each other alike in the
combat. And then (seated) on an infuriate elephant huge as a mountain and
supported by four cars, Vikarna rushed against Jishnu, the son of Kunti.
And beholding that huge elephant, advancing with speed, Dhananjaya struck
him on the head between the temples with an iron arrow of great impetus
shot from the bow-string stretched to the ear. And like the thunderbolt
hurled by Indra splitting a mountain, that arrow furnished with vulturine
wings, shot by Partha, penetrated, up to the very feathers, into the body
of that elephant huge as hill. And sorely afflicted by the shaft, that
lord of the elephant species began to tremble, and deprived of strength
fell down on the ground in intense anguish, like the peak of mountain
riven by thunder. And that best of elephants falling down on the earth,
Vikarna suddenly alighting in great terror, ran back full eight hundred
paces and ascended on the car of Vivinsati. And having slain with that
thunder-like arrow that elephant huge as a mighty hill and looking like a
mass of clouds, the son of Pritha smote Duryodhana in the breast with
another arrow of the same kind. And both the elephant and the king having
thus been wounded, and Vikarna having broken and fled along with the
supporters of the king’s car, the other warriors, smitten with the arrows
shot from the Gandiva, fled from the field in panic. And beholding the
elephant slain by Partha, and all the other warriors running away,
Duryodhana, the foremost of the Kurus, turning away his car precipitately
fled in that direction where Partha was not. And when Duryodhana was fast
running away in alarm, pierced by that arrow and vomitting forth blood,
Kiritin, still eager for battle and capable of enduring every enemy, thus
censured him from wrath, ‘Sacrificing thy great fame and glory, why dost
thou fly away, turning thy back? Why are not those trumpets sounded now,
as they were when thou hadst set out from thy kingdom? Lo, I am an
obedient servant of Yudhishthira, myself being the third son of Pritha,
standing here for battle. Turn back, show me thy face, O son of
Dhritarashtra, and bear in thy mind the behaviour of kings. The name
Duryodhana bestowed on thee before is hereby rendered meaningless. When
thou runnest away, leaving the battle, where is thy persistence in
battle? Neither do I behold thy body-guards, O Duryodhana, before nor
behind. O foremost of men, fly thou away and save thy life which is dear
from the hands of Pandu’s son.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Thus summoned to battle by the illustrious hero,
Dhritarashtra’s son turned back stung by those censures, like an
infuriate and mighty elephant pricked by a hook. And stung by those
reproaches and unable to bear them, that mighty and brave car-warrior
endued with great swiftness, turned back on his car, like a snake that is
trampled under foot. And beholding Duryodhana turn back with his wounds,
Karna, that hero among men, decked with a golden necklace, stopped the
king on the way and soothing him, himself proceeded along the north of
Duryodhana’s car to meet Partha in battle. And the mighty-armed Bhishma
also, the son of Santanu, turning back his steeds decked with gold,
enormous in size, and of tawny hue, rushed bow in hand, for protecting
Duryodhana from Partha’s hand. And Drona and Kripa and Vivinsati and
Dussasana and others also, quickly turning back, rushed forward with
speed with drawn bows and arrows fixed on the bow-strings, for protecting
Duryodhana. And beholding those divisions advance towards him like the
swelling surges of the ocean, Dhananjaya, the son of Pritha, quickly
rushed at them like a crane rushing at a descending cloud. And with
celestial weapons in their hands, they completely surrounded the son of
Pritha and rained on him from all sides a perfect shower of shafts, like
clouds showering on the mountain breast a heavy downpour of rain. And
warding off with weapons, all the weapons of those bulls among the Kurus,
the wielder of the Gandiva who was capable of enduring all foes, evolved
another irresistible weapon obtained from Indra, called Sanmohana. And
entirely covering the cardinal and other directions with sharp and
keen-edged arrows furnished with beautiful feathers, that mighty hero
stupefied their senses with the twang of the Gandiva. And once more,
taking up with both his hands that large conch of loud blare, Partha,
that slayer of foes, blew it with force and filled the cardinal and other
points, the whole earth, and sky, with that noise. And those foremost of
the Kuru heroes were all deprived of their senses by the sound of that
conch blown by Partha. And all of them stood still, their bows, from
which they were never separated, dropping down from their hands. And when
the Kuru army became insensible, Partha calling to mind the words of
Uttara, addressed the son of the Matsya king, saying, ‘O best of men, go
thou among the Kurus, so long as they remain insensible, and bring away
the white garments of Drona and Kripa, and the yellow and handsome ones
of Karna, as also the blue ones of the king and Drona’s son. Methinks,
Bhishma is not stupefied, for he knoweth how to counteract this weapon of
mine. So, pass thou on, keeping his steeds to thy left; for those that
are sensible should thus be avoided.’ Hearing these words, the
illustrious son of Matsya, giving up the reins of the steeds, jumped down
from the car and taking off the garments of the warriors, came back to
his place. And the son of Virata then urged the four handsome steeds with
flanks adorned with golden armours. And those white steeds, urged on,
took Arjuna away from the midst of battle-field and beyond the array of
the infantry bearing standards in their hands. And, Bhishma, beholding
that best of men thus going away, struck him with arrows. And Partha,
too, having slain Bhishma’s steeds, pierced him with ten shafts. And
abandoning Bhishma on the field of battle, having first slain his
car-driver, Arjuna with a good-looking bow in hand came out of that
multitude of cars, like the sun emerging from the clouds. And
Dhritarashtra’s son, that foremost of heroes among the Kurus, recovering
his senses, saw the son of Pritha standing like the lord of the
celestials, alone on the battle-field. And he said in hurry (unto
Bhishma), ‘How hath this one escaped from thee? Do thou afflict him in
such a way that he may not escape.’ And at this, Santanu’s son, smiling,
said unto him, ‘Where had been this sense of thine, and where had been
thy prowess too, when thou hadst been in a state of unconsciousness
renouncing thy arrows and handsome bow? Vibhatsu is not addicted to the
commission of atrocious deeds; nor is his soul inclined to sin. He
renounceth not his principles even for the sake of the three worlds. It
is for this only that all of us have not been slain in this battle. O
thou foremost of Kuru heroes, go back to the city of the Kurus, and let
Partha also go away, having conquered the kine. Do thou never foolishly
throw away thy own good. Indeed, that which leadeth to one’s welfare
ought to be accomplished.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having listened to the words of the grandsire
that tended to his own welfare, the wrathful king Duryodhana no longer
eager for battle, drew a deep sigh and became silent. And reflecting that
the advice of Bhishma was beneficial and seeing that the Pandavas gaining
in strength, the other warriors also, desirous of protecting Duryodhana,
resolved to return. And beholding those foremost of Kuru heroes departing
for their city, Dhananjaya, the son of Pritha, with a cheerful heart
followed them for a while, desirous of addressing and worshipping them.
And having worshipped the aged grandsire--the son of Santanu, as also the
preceptor Drona, and having saluted with beautiful arrows Drona’s son and
Kripa and other venerable ones among the Kurus, the son of Pritha broke
into fragments Duryodhana’s crown decked with precious gems, with another
arrow. And having saluted all the venerable and brave warriors thus, he
filled the three worlds with the twang of the Gandiva. And suddenly
blowing his conch called Devadatta, the hero pierced the hearts of all
his foes. And having humbled the hostile, he looked resplendent on his
car decked with a handsome flag. And beholding the Kurus depart, Kiritin
cheerfully said unto Matsya’s son, ‘Turn back thy steeds; thy kine have
been recovered; the foe is going away and do thou also return to thy city
with a cheerful heart.’ And the celestials also, having witnessed that
most wonderful encounter between Falguna and the Kurus, were highly
delighted, and went to their respective abodes, reflecting upon Partha’s


Vaisampayana said, “Having vanquished the Kurus in battle, that one with
eyes like those of a bull brought back that profuse cattle wealth of
Virata. And while the Dhritarashtra, after their rout, were going away, a
large number of Kuru-soldiers issuing out of the deep forest appeared
with slow steps before Partha, their hearts afflicted with fear. And they
stood before him with joined palms and with hair dishevelled. And
fatigued with hunger and thirst, arrived in a foreign land, insensible
with terror, and confused in mind, they all bowed down unto the son of
Pritha and said,--‘We are thy slaves.’

“Arjuna said, ‘Welcome, blessed be ye. Go ye away. Ye have no cause of
fear. I will not take the lives of them that are afflicted. Ye have my
assurance of protection.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of assurance, the assembled
warriors greeted him with benedictions in praise of his achievements and
fame and wishing him long life. And the Kauravas were unable to confront
Arjuna while after routing the foe he proceeded towards the city of
Virata, like an elephant with rent temples. And having routed the whole
army of the Kuru like a violent wind scattering the clouds, that slayer
of foes, Partha, regardfully addressing the prince of Matsya, said, ‘It
is known to thee alone, O child, that the sons of Pritha are all living
with thy father. Do not eulogise them upon entering the city, for then
the king of the Matsyas may hide himself in fear. On the other hand,
entering the city, do thou proclaim in the presence of thy father that
the deed is thy own, saying,--“By me hath the army of the Kurus been
vanquished and by me have the kine been recovered from the foe!”’

“Uttara said, ‘The feat thou hast achieved is beyond my power. I do not
possess the ability to achieve it. I shall not, however, O Savyasachin,
discover thee to my father, as long as thou wilt not tell me to do it.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having vanquished the hostile army and wrested
the whole of the cattle wealth from the Kurus, Jishnu returned again to
the cemetery and having approached the same Sami tree stood there with
body mangled by the arrows of the enemy. Then that terrible monkey
blazing like fire ascended into the sky with those other creatures in the
flag-staff. And the illusion created (by Viswakarma) melted away and
Uttara’s own banner bearing the device of a lion was set up on the car
again. And having replaced the arrows and quivers of those foremost of
the Kuru princes, and also that other weapon the (Gandiva) which enhances
the fierceness of a battle, the illustrious prince of Matsya set out for
the city with a glad heart, having Kiritin as his charioteer. And having
achieved an exceedingly mighty feat and slain the foe, Partha also, that
slayer of foes, binding his hair into a braid as before, took the reins
from Uttara’s hands. And that illustrious hero entered the city of
Virata, with a cheerful heart rehabilitating himself as Vrihannala, the
car-driver of Uttara.”

Vaisampayana continued, “When all the Kauravas utterly routed and
vanquished, set out in a dejected mood for Hastinapura, Falguna, on his
way back, addressed Uttara, saying, ‘O prince, O hero of mighty arms,
seeing the kine escorted in advance of us by the cowherds, we shall enter
Virata’s metropolis in the afternoon, having tended the steeds with drink
and a bath. Let the cowherds, despatched by thee, speedily repair to the
city with the good news and proclaim thy victory.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Agreeable to Arjuna’s words, Uttara speedily
ordered the messengers, saying, ‘Go ye and proclaim the king’s victory.
The foe hath been routed, and the kine have been recovered.’ And the
Matsya and the Bharata princes having thus consulted together
re-approached the same Sami tree. And gratified with the victory they had
won, and arrived at the foot of the Sami tree, they wore on their persons
and took up on their car the ornaments and robes they had left there. And
having vanquished the whole hostile army and recovered the whole of the
wealth from the Kurus, the heroic son of Virata returned to the city with
Vrihannala as his car-driver.”


Vaisampayana said, “Having speedily recovered his wealth Virata owning a
large army entered his city with a cheerful heart, accompanied by the
four Pandavas. And having vanquished the Trigartas in battle and
recovered all the kine, that mighty monarch, along with the sons of
Pritha, looked resplendent and blazed forth in beauty. And as the brave
king, that enhancer of the joys of friends, was seated on his throne, all
his subjects headed by the Brahmanas stood before him. And worshipped by
them, the king of the Matsyas, at the head of his army, saluted the
Brahmanas and his subjects in return and dismissed them cheerfully. And
Virata, the king of the Matsyas owning a large army, enquired after
Uttara, saying, ‘Where hath Uttara gone?’ And the women and the maidens
of the palace and the other females living in the inner apartments
joyfully said unto him, ‘Our kine having been seized by the Kurus,
Bhuminjaya incensed at this and from excess of bravery hath issued forth
alone with only Vrihannala as his second, for vanquishing the six mighty
car-warriors, Bhishma the son of Santanu, and Kripa, and Karna, and
Duryodhana, and Drona, and Drona’s son who have all come with the Kuru

Vaisampayana continued, “Then king Virata, hearing that his brave son
had gone forth with only one car and with Vrihannala as his car-driver,
became filled with grief, and addressing his chief counsellors, said,
‘Without doubt, the Kauravas and other lords of earth, learning the
defeat of the Trigartas, will never keep their ground. Therefore, let
those of my warriors that have not been wounded by the Trigartas go out,
accompanied by a mighty force, for the protection of Uttara.’ And saying
this, the king speedily despatched, for the sake of his son, horses and
elephants and cars and a large number of foot-soldiers, equipped and
decked with various kinds of weapons and ornaments. And it was thus that
Virata, the king of the Matsyas, owning a large army, quickly ordered out
a large division consisting of four kinds of troops. And having done
this, he said, ‘Learn ye, without loss of time whether the prince liveth
still or not! I myself think that he who hath got a person of the neuter
sex for his car-driver is not alive.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then king Yudhishthira the just, smilingly said
unto the afflicted king Virata, ‘If, O monarch, Vrihannala hath been his
charioteer, the foe will never be able to take away thy kine today.
Protected by that charioteer, thy son will be able to vanquish in battle
all the lords of earth allied with the Kurus, indeed, even the gods and
the Asuras and the Siddhas and the Yakshas together.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Meanwhile, the swift-footed messengers
despatched by Uttara, having reached Virata’s city, gave tidings of the
victory. And the minister-in-chief then informed the king of everything,
viz., the great victory that had been won, the defeat of the Kurus, and
the expected arrival of Uttara. And he said, ‘All the kine have been
brought back, the Kurus have been defeated, and Uttara, that slayer of
foes, is well with his car-driver.’ Then Yudhishthira said, ‘By good luck
it is that the kine have been recovered and the Kurus routed. I do not,
however, regard it strange that thy son should have vanquished the Kurus,
for his victory is assured that hath Vrihannala for his charioteer.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing of the victory of his son possessed of
immeasurable might, king Virata became so glad that the bristles of his
body stood erect. And having made presents of raiments unto the
messengers, he ordered his ministers, saying, ‘Let the highways be
decorated with flags, and let all the gods and goddesses be worshipped
with flowery offerings. And let princes and brave warriors, and musicians
and harlots decked in ornaments, march out to receive my son. And let the
bellman, speedily riding an intoxicated elephant, proclaim my victory at
places where four roads meet. And let Uttara, too, in gorgeous attire and
surrounded by virgins and chanters of eulogies, go forth to receive my

Vaisampayana continued, “Having listened to these words of the king, all
the citizens with auspicious things in hand, and many amongst them with
cymbals and trumpets and conchs, and beautiful women attired in gorgeous
robes, and reciters of auspicious and sacred hymns, accompanied by
encomiasts and minstrels, and drummers and other kinds of musicians
issued forth from the city of the mighty Virata to welcome Uttara of
immeasurable prowess. And having despatched troops and maidens and
courtesans decked in ornaments, the wise king of the Matsyas cheerfully
said these words, ‘O Sairindhri, fetch the dice. And, O Kanka, let the
play commence.’ The son of Pandu replied, saying, ‘We have heard it said
that one whose heart is filled with joy should not play with a cunning
gambler. I do not therefore, dare gamble with thee that are so
transported with joy. I am ever desirous of doing what is for thy good.
Let the play, however, commence if it pleases thee.’

“Virata said, ‘My female slaves and kine, my gold and whatsoever other
wealth I have, nothing of all this shall thou be able to protect today
even if I do not gamble.’ Kanka said in reply, ‘O monarch, O bestower of
honours, what business hast thou with gamble which is attended with
numerous evils? Gambling is fraught with many evils; it should,
therefore, be shunned. Thou mayst have seen or at least heard of
Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu. He lost his extensive and prosperous
kingdom and his god-like brothers at dice. For this, I am averse to
gambling. But if thou likest, O king, I will play.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “While the play was going on, Matsya said unto
the son of Pandu, ‘Lo, the Kauravas that are so formidable have been
vanquished in battle by my son.’ Upon this, the illustrious king
Yudhishthira said, ‘Why should not he conquer that hath Vrihannala for
his charioteer?’

“Thus addressed, King Matsya became angry and said unto Pandu’s son,
‘Thou wretch of a Brahmana, dost thou compare one of the neuter sex with
my son! Hast thou no knowledge of what is proper and what improper for
one to say? Without doubt, thou disregardest me. Why should not my son
vanquish all those with Bhishma and Drona as their leaders? O Brahmana,
for friendship only I pardon thee this thy offence. Thou must not,
however, say so again if thou wishest to live.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘There where Bhishma and Drona and Drona’s son and
the son of Vikartana and Kripa and king Duryodhana and other royal and
mighty car-warriors are assembled or there where Indra himself is
surrounded by the Maruts, what other person than Vrihannala can fight,
encountering them all! None hath been, none will be, his equal in
strength of arms! Indeed, it is Vrihannala only whose heart is filled
with joy at sight of a terrible conflict. It is he who had vanquished the
celestials and the Asuras and human beings fighting together. With such a
one for his ally, why should not thy son conquer the foe?’ Virata said,
‘Repeatedly forbidden by me, thou dost not yet restrain thy tongue. If
there is none to punish, no one would practise virtue.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Saying this, the king inflamed with anger
forcibly struck Yudhishthira in the face with a dice, and reproached him
angrily, saying, ‘Let it not occur again!’ And having been violently
struck, blood began to flow from his nose. But the son of Pritha held it
in his hands before it fell on the ground. And the virtuous Yudhishthira
then glanced at Draupadi who was standing by his side. Ever obedient to
the wishes of her lord, the faultless Draupadi, understanding his
meaning, and bringing a golden vessel filled with water, received the
blood that flowed from his nose. Meanwhile, Uttara, entertained with
sweet perfumes of diverse kinds and decked with floral chaplets, slowly
entered the city, received with respect by the citizens, the women, and
the people of the provinces. And approaching the gate of the palace he
sent the news of his arrival to his father. And the porter then,
approaching the king, said, ‘Thy son Uttara, waiteth at the gate with
Vrihannala as his companion.’ And the Matsya king, with a cheerful heart,
said unto him, ‘Do thou usher both, as I am very anxious to see them.’
Then Yudhishthira, the king of the Kurus, gently whispered unto the ears
of the warder, ‘Let Uttara enter alone; Vrihannala must not come in. Such
is the vow of that hero of mighty arms that whoever causeth a wound on my
person or sheddeth my blood except in battle, shall not live. Inflamed
with rage he will never bear patiently to see me bleeding, but will slay
Virata even now with his counsellors and troops and steeds.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Then Bhuminjaya, the eldest son of the king,
entered, and having worshipped the feet of his father approached Kanka.
And he beheld Kanka covered with blood, and seated on the ground at one
end of the court, and waited upon by the Sairindhri. And seeing this,
Uttara asked his father in a hurry, saying, ‘By whom, O king, hath this
one been struck? By whom hath this sinful act been perpetrated?’

“Virata said, ‘This crooked Brahmana hath been struck by me. He deserveth
even more than this. When I was praising thee, he praised that person of
the third sex.’

“Uttara said, ‘Thou hast, O king, committed an improper act. Do thou
speedily propitiate him so that the virulent poison of a Brahmana’s curse
may not consume thee to thy roots!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having heard the words of his son, Virata, that
enhancer of the limits of his kingdom, began to soothe Kunti’s son, who
was like unto a fire hid in ashes, for obtaining his forgiveness. And
unto the king desirous of obtaining his pardon the Pandava replied, ‘O
king, I have long ago forgiven it. Anger I have none. Had this blood from
my nostrils fallen on the ground, then, without doubt, thou, O monarch,
wouldst have been destroyed with thy kingdom. I do not, however, blame
thee, O king, for having struck an innocent person. For, O king, they
that are powerful generally act with unreasoning severity.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “When the bleeding had stopped, Vrihannala
entered (the council-room) and having saluted both Virata and Kanka,
stood silent. And the king, having appeased the chief of the Kurus, began
to praise, in Savyasachin’s hearing, Uttara who had returned from the
battle. And the king said, ‘O enhancer of the joys of Kekaya’s princess,
in thee have I truly a son! I never had nor shall have, a son that is
equal to thee! How, indeed, couldst thou, O child, encounter that Karna
who leaveth not a single mark unhit amongst even a thousand that he may
aim at all at once? How couldst thou, O child, encounter that Bhishma who
hath no equal in the whole world of men? How also couldst thou, O child,
encounter Drona, that foremost of all wielders of weapons, that preceptor
of the Vrishnis and Kauravas, twice-born one who may be regarded as the
preceptor of all the Kshatriyas? How couldst thou meet in battle the
celebrated Aswatthaman? How couldst thou, O child, encounter that
Duryodhana, the prince who is capable of piercing even a mountain with
his mighty arrows? My foes have all been thrashed. A delicious breeze
seems to blow around me. And since thou hast recovered in battle the
whole of my wealth that had been seized by the Kurus, it seems that all
those mighty warriors were struck with panic. Without doubt, thou, O bull
amongst men, has routed the foe and snatched away from them my wealth of
kine, like his prey from a tiger.’”


“Uttara said, ‘The kine have not been recovered by me, nor have the foe
been vanquished by me. All that hath been accomplished by the son of a
deity. Capable of striking like a thunderbolt, that youth of celestial
origin, beholding me running away in fear, stopped me and himself mounted
on my car. It was by him that the kine have been recovered and the
Kauravas vanquished. The deed, O father, is that hero’s and not mine. It
was he that repulsed with arrows Kripa and Drona and Drona’s son of
powerful energy, and the Suta’s son and Bhishma. That mighty hero then
spoke unto the affrighted prince Duryodhana who was running away like the
leader of a head of elephants, these words, “O prince of the Kuru race, I
do not see that thou art safe by any means even at Hastinapura. Protect
thy life by putting forth thy might. Thou shalt not escape me by flight.
Therefore, make up thy mind for fight. If victorious, the sovereignty of
the earth will be thine, or if slain, heaven itself will be thine.”

“‘Thus addressed, king Duryodhana--that tiger among men surrounded by his
counsellors,--sighing on his car like a snake turned back, showered
arrows endued with the speed and force of thunderbolts. Beholding all
this, venerable sire, my thighs began to quake. Then that celestial youth
pierced with arrows the Kuru army consisting of leonine warriors. And
having pierced and afflicted that crowd of cars, that youth, stout as the
lion, laughed at them and robbed them of their clothes and attires.
Indeed, the six great car-warriors of the Kurus were vanquished by that
hero alone, even like herds of animals ranging in the forest by a single
tiger in rage.’

“Virata said, ‘Where is that mighty-armed and famous youth of celestial
origin, that hero who recovered in battle my wealth that had been seized
by the Kurus? I am anxious to behold and worship that mighty warrior of
celestial origin who hath saved thee and my kine also.’

“Uttara replied, ‘The mighty son of a deity disappeared there and then. I
think, however, that he will show himself either tomorrow or the day

Vaisampayana continued, “Virata, that owner of a large army, remained
ignorant of the son of Pandu who was thus described unto him by Uttara,
and who was living in the palace in disguise. And permitted by the
high-souled Virata, Partha presented with his own hands the garments he
had brought, unto Virata’s daughter. And the beautiful Uttara, obtaining
those new and costly clothes of diverse kinds, became highly glad, along
with the son of the Matsya king.”


Vaisampayana said, “Then, on the third day, attired in white robes after
a bath, and decked in ornaments of all kinds, those great car-warriors,
the five Pandava brothers, having accomplished their vow, and with
Yudhishthira at their head, looked resplendent as they entered the
palace-gate like five intoxicated elephants. And having entered the
council-hall of Virata, they took their seats on the thrones reserved for
kings, and shone brilliantly like fires on the sacrificial altar. And
after the Pandavas had taken their seats, Virata, that lord of earth, came
there for holding his council and discharging other royal offices. And
beholding the illustrious Pandavas blazing like fires, the king reflected
for a moment. And then, filled with wrath, the Matsya king spoke unto
Kanka seated there like a celestial and looking like the lord of
celestials surrounded by the Maruts. And he said, ‘A player at dice thou
wert employed by me as a courtier! How couldst thou occupy the royal seat
thus attired in handsome robes and ornaments?’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of Virata, O king, and
desirous of jesting with him, Arjuna smilingly said in reply, ‘This
person, O king, deserveth to occupy the same seat with Indra himself.
Devoted to the Brahmanas, acquainted with the Vedas, indifferent to
luxury and carnal enjoyments, habitually performing sacrifices, steady in
vows, this one, indeed, is the very embodiment of virtue. The foremost of
all persons endued with energy and superior to every body on earth in
intelligence, devoted to asceticism, he is conversant with various
weapons. No other person among the mobile and immobile creatures of the
three worlds possesseth or will ever possess such knowledge of weapons.
And there is none even amongst the gods, or Asuras, or men, or Rakshasas,
or Gandharvas, or Yaksha chiefs, or Kinnaras, or mighty Uragas, who is
like him. Endued with great foresight and energy, beloved by the citizens
and inhabitants of the provinces, he is the mightiest of car-warriors
amongst the sons of Pandu. A performer of sacrifices, devoted to
morality, and of subdued passions, like unto a great Rishi, this royal
sage is celebrated over all the worlds. Possessed of great strength and
great intelligence, able and truthful, he hath all his senses under
complete control. Equal unto Indra in wealth and Kuvera in hoarding, he
is the protector of the worlds like unto Manu himself of mighty prowess.
Endued with great might, he is even such. Kind unto all creatures he is
no other than the bull of the Kuru race, king Yudhishthira the just. The
achievements of this king resemble the sun himself of blazing effulgence.
And his fame hath travelled in all directions like the rays of that
luminary. And like the rays following the risen sun of blazing
effulgence, ten thousand swift elephants followed him, O king, when he
dwelt among the Kurus. And, O king, thirty thousand cars decked in gold
and drawn by the best steeds, also used to follow him then. And full
eight hundred bards adorned with ear-rings set with shining gems, and
accompanied by minstrels, recited his praises in those days, like the
Rishis adorning Indra. And, O king, the Kauravas and other lords of earth
always waited upon him like slaves, as the celestials upon Kuvera. This
eminent king, resembling the bright-rayed sun, made all lords of earth
pay tribute unto him like persons of the agricultural class. And
eighty-eight thousands of high-souled Snatakas depended for their
subsistence upon this king practising excellent vows. This illustrious
lord protected the aged and the helpless, the maimed and the blind, as
his sons, and he ruled over his subjects virtuously. Steady in morality
and self-control, capable of restraining his anger, bountiful, devoted to
the Brahmanas, and truthful, this one is the son of Pandu. The prosperity
and prowess of this one afflict king Suyodhana with his followers
including Karna and Suvala’s son. And, O lord of men, the virtues of this
one are incapable of being enumerated. This son of Pandu is devoted to
morality and always abstains from injury. Possessed of such attributes,
doth not this bull among kings, this son of Pandu, deserve, O monarch, to
occupy a royal seat?’”


“Virata said, ‘If this one, indeed, be the Kuru king Yudhishthira the son
of Kunti, which amongst these is his brother Arjuna, and which, the
mighty Bhima. Which of these is Nakula, and which Sahadeva and where is
the celebrated Draupadi? After their defeat at dice, the sons of Pritha
have not been heard of by any one.’

“Arjuna said, ‘Even this one, O king, who is called Vallava and is thy
cook, is that Bhima of mighty arms and terrible prowess and furious
impetus. It was he who slew the furious Rakshasas on the mountains of
Gandhamadana, and procured for Krishna celestial flowers of great
fragrance. Even he is that Gandharva, who slew the Kichaka of wicked soul
and it was he who killed tigers and bears and boars in the inner
apartment of thy palace. He who had been the keeper of thy horse is that
slayer of foes called Nakula, and this one is Sahadeva, the keeper of thy
kine. Both these sons of Madri are great car-warriors, possessed of great
fame and beauty of person. These two bulls of the Bharata race, attired
in handsome robes and decked in excellent ornaments, are a match for a
thousand great car-warriors. And even this lady of eyes like lotus-petals
and slender-waist and sweet smiles is Drupada’s daughter, thy wife’s
Sairindhri, for whose sake, O king, the Kichakas were slain. I am, O
king, Arjuna who, it is evident, thou hast heard, is that son of Pritha,
who is Bhima’s junior and the senior of the twins! We have, O king,
happily passed in thy abode the period of non-discovery, like infants in
the womb!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “After Arjuna had pointed out those heroes--the
five Pandavas, the son of Virata then spoke of Arjuna’s prowess. And
Uttara once again identified the sons of Pritha. And the prince said,
‘That one whose complexion is bright like that of pure gold, who is stout
like a full-grown lion, whose nose is so prominent, whose eyes are large
and expansive, and whose face is broad and of coppery hue, is the king of
the Kurus. And behold, that one whose tread is like that of an infuriate
elephant, whose complexion is like that of heated gold, whose shoulders
are broad and expanded, and whose arms are long and thick, is Vrikodara.
And he who stands by his side, that youth of darkish hue, who is like
unto a leader of a herd of elephants, whose shoulders are broad like
those of a lion, whose tread is like that of a mighty elephant, and whose
eyes are large and expansive like lotus-leaves, is Arjuna that foremost
of bowmen. And lo, close to the king, are those foremost of men, the
twins, like unto Vishnu and Indra, and who have no equals, in the world
of men, in beauty, might, and behaviour. And close by them, behold,
standeth Krishna, beautiful as gold, like unto the very embodiment of
light, possessing the complexion of the blue lotus, like unto a celestial
damsel, and resembling the living embodiment of Lakshmi herself.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then Virata’s son began to describe the prowess
of Arjuna, saying, ‘Even this one is he that slew the foe, like unto a
lion devastating a flock of deer. Even he ranged through crowds of
hostile cars, slaying their best of car-warriors. By him was slain a
huge, infuriate elephant by means of a single arrow. Pierced by him, that
huge beast having its flanks adorned with an armour of gold, fell down
piercing the earth with his tusks. By him have the kine been recovered
and the Kauravas vanquished in battle. My ears have been deafened by the
blare of his conch. It was by this hero of fierce deeds that Bhishma and
Drona, along with Duryodhana, were vanquished. That achievement is his
and not mine.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of his, the mighty king of
the Matsyas, considering himself guilty of having offended Yudhishthira,
said unto Uttara in reply, ‘I think the time hath come for me to
propitiate the sons of Pandu. And, if thou likest, I shall bestow my
daughter Uttara upon Arjuna.’

“Uttara said, ‘Worthy of our adorations and worship and respect, the time
hath come for worshipping the illustrious sons of Pandu who deserve to be
worshipped by us.’

“Virata said, ‘When brought under the foe’s subjection in battle, it was
Bhimasena that rescued me. My kine also have been recovered by Arjuna. It
is through the might of their arms that we have obtained victory in
battle. Such being the case, all of us, with our counsellors, shall
propitiate Yudhishthira the son of Kunti. Blessed be thou, with all thy
brothers, O bull among the sons of Pandu. If, O king, we have ever said
or done anything in ignorance to offend thee, it behoveth thee to forgive
us. The son of Pandu is virtuous.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then the high-souled Virata, delighted greatly,
approached king Yudhishthira and made an alliance with him, and offered
him his whole kingdom together with the sceptre and treasury and
metropolis. And addressing all the Pandavas, and especially Dhananjaya,
the mighty king of the Matsyas repeatedly said, ‘By good luck it is that
I see you.’ And having again and again embraced Yudhishthira and Bhima
and the sons of Madri, and smelt their heads, Virata, that owner of a
large army, was not satiated with gazing at them. And being highly
pleased, he said unto king Yudhishthira, ‘By good luck it is that I see
you safe from woods. By good luck it is that ye have accomplished with
difficulty the period of exile, undiscovered by those wicked wights. I
make over my entire kingdom to the sons of Pritha, and what else I have.
Let the sons of Pandu accept these without the slightest hesitation. And
let Dhananjaya, called also Savyasachin, accept the hand of Uttara: for
that best of men is fit to be her lord.’ Thus addressed, king
Yudhishthira the just cast a look upon Dhananjaya, the son of Pritha. And
looked at by his brother, Arjuna said unto the Matsya king, ‘O monarch, I
accept thy daughter as my daughter-in-law. An alliance of this kind
between the Matsya and the Bharatas is, indeed, desirable.’”


“Virata said, ‘Why, O best among the Pandavas, dost thou not wish to
accept as wife this my daughter that I bestow upon thee?’

“Arjuna said, ‘Residing in thy inner apartments, I had occasion always to
behold thy daughter, and she too, alone or in company trusted me as her
father. Well-versed in singing and dancing, I was liked and regarded by
her, and, indeed, thy daughter always regardeth me as her protector. O
king, I lived for one whole year with her though she had attained the age
of puberty. Under these circumstances, thyself or other men may not
without reason, entertain suspicions against her or me. Therefore, O
king, myself who am pure, and have my senses under control, beg to thee,
O monarch, thy daughter as my daughter-in-law. Thus do I attest her
purity. There is no difference between a daughter-in-law and a daughter,
as also between a son and son’s own-self. By adopting this course,
therefore, her purity will be proved. I am afraid of slanderous and false
accusations. I accept, therefore, O king, thy daughter Uttara as my
daughter-in-law. Surpassing all in knowledge of weapons, resembling a
celestial youth in beauty, my son, the mighty-armed Abhimanyu is the
favourite nephew of Vasudeva, the wielder of the discus. He, O king, is
fit to be thy son-in-law and the husband of thy daughter.’

“Virata said, ‘It behoveth the best of the Kurus, Dhananjaya, the son of
Kunti, who is so virtuous and wise, to say this. O son of Pritha, do thou
carry out what thou thinkest should be done after this. He that hath
Arjuna for the father of his son-in-law, hath all his desires gratified.’”

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The monarch having said this, Yudhishthira, the
son of Kunti, gave his assent to what was thus agreed upon between the
Matsya king and Arjuna. And, O Bharata, the son of Kunti sent invitations
to Vasudeva and to all his friends and relatives, and Virata also did the
same. And then, after the expiry of the thirteenth year, the five
Pandavas took up their abode in one of Virata’s towns called Upaplavya,
and Vibhatsu, the son of Pandu, brought over Abhimanyu and Janardana, and
also many people of the Dasarha race from the Anarta country. And the
king of Kasi, and also Saivya, being very friendly to Yudhishthira,
arrived there, each accompanied by an Akshauhini of troops. And the
mighty Drupada, also with the heroic sons of Draupadi and the
unvanquished Sikhandin, and that foremost of wielder of weapons, the
invincible Dhrishtadyumna came there with another Akshauhini of troops.
And all the kings that came were not only lords of Akshauhini, but
performers of sacrifices with gifts in profusion to Brahmanas, conversant
with the Vedas endued with heroism, and ready to die in battle. And
beholding them arrived, that foremost of virtuous men, the king of the
Matsyas, adored them duly, and entertained their troops and servants and
carriers of burdens. And he was highly pleased to bestow his daughter
upon Abhimanyu. And after the kings had come there from different parts
of the country, there came Vasudeva decked in floral garlands, and
Halayudha, and Kritavarman, the son of Hridika, and Yuyudhana, the son of
Satyaki, and Anadhristi and Akrura, and Samva and Nisatha. And these
repressers of foes came there bringing with them Abhimanyu and his
mother. And Indrasena and others, having lived at Dwaraka for one whole
year, came there, bringing with them the well adorned cars of the
Pandavas. And there came also ten thousand elephants and ten thousand
cars, and hundred millions of horses and hundred billions of
foot-soldiers, and innumerable Vrishni and Andhaka and Bhoja warriors of
great energy, in the train of that tiger among the Vrishnis, Vasudeva of
great effulgence. And Krishna gave unto each of the illustrious sons of
Pandu numerous female slaves, and gems and robes. And then the nuptial
festival set in between the families of the Matsya king and the Pandavas.
And then conchs and cymbals and horns and drums and other musical
instruments appointed by the Pandavas, began to play in the palace of
Virata. And deer of various kinds and clean animals by hundreds were
slain. And wines of various kinds and intoxicating juices of trees were
profusely collected. And mimes and bards and encomiasts, versed in
singing and legendary lore, waited upon the kings, and chanted their
praises and genealogies. And the matrons of the Matsyas of symmetrical
bodies and limbs, and wearing ear-rings of pearls and gems, headed by
Sudeshna, came to the place where the marriage knot was to be tied. And
amongst those beautiful females of fair complexion and excellent
ornaments, Krishna was the foremost in beauty and fame and splendour. And
they all came there, leading forth the princess Uttara decked in every
ornament and resembling the daughter of the great Indra himself. And then
Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, accepted Virata’s daughter of faultless
limbs on behalf of his son by Subhadra. And that great king,
Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, who stood there like Indra, also accepted
her as his daughter-in-law. And having accepted her, the son of Pritha,
with Janardana before him, caused the nuptial ceremonies to be performed
of the illustrious son of Subhadra. And Virata then gave him (as dowry)
seven thousand steeds endued with the speed of the wind and two hundred
elephants of the best kind and much wealth also. And having duly poured
libations of clarified butter on the blazing fire, and paid homage unto
the twice-born ones, Virata offered to the Pandavas his kingdom, army,
treasury, and his own self. And after the marriage had taken place,
Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, gave away unto the Brahmanas all the
wealth that had been brought by Krishna of unfading glory. And he also
gave away thousands of kine, and diverse kinds of robes, and various
excellent ornaments, and vehicles, and beds, delicious viands of various
kinds, and cardinal drinks of diverse species. And the king also made
gifts of land unto the Brahmanas with due rites, and also cattle by
thousands. And he also gave away thousands of steeds and much gold and
much wealth of other kinds, unto persons of all ages. And, O bull of the
Bharata race, the city of the Matsya king, thronged with men cheerful and
well-fed, shone brightly like a great festival.’”

The end of Virata Parva


1. Brahma Vadini--Nilakantha explains this as Krishna-kirtanasila.

2. This speech of Vaisampayana is not included in some texts within the
second section. To include it, however, in the third, is evidently a

3. The sloka commencing with Adushta and ending ratheshu cha does not
occur in texts except those in Bengal.

4. A difference of reading is observable here. The sense, however, is the

5. An independent female artisan working in another person’s

6. Some of the Bengal text read Sarvastramaya for Sarvamantramaya. The
former is evidently incorrect.

7. This is a very difficult sloka. Nilakantha adopts the reading
Sanjayet. The Bengal editions read Sanjapet. If the latter be the correct
reading, the meaning then would be,--‘Let none talk about what transpires
in the presence of the king. For those even that are poor, regard it as a
grave fault.’ The sense evidently is that the occurrences in respect of a
king which one witnesses should not be divulged. Even they that are
powerless regard such divulgence of what occurs in respect of them as an
insult to them, and, therefore, inexcusable.

8. The Bengal editions, read Rajna in the instrumental case. Following a
manuscript text of a Pandit of my acquaintance I read Rajnas in the

9. Mahishasura, the son of Rambhasura. Durga had to fight for many many
years before she could slay this formidable Asura. The story occurs in
the Markandeya Purana. To this day, Bengal during the great Durga Puja
festival in autumn, worships the goddess with great veneration.

10. Literally, one that rescues from difficulty.

11. Kamachara is explained by Nilakantha thus, although in other places
it bears a quite different meaning.

12. Krita--attack; Pratikrita--warding it off; Sankata--clenched. Some
texts read Sankatakais. The meaning then would be ‘cased in gauntlets.’

13. Bhuti, Hri, Sri, Kirti and Kanti are respectively the feminine
embodiments of Prosperity, Modesty, Beauty, Fame and Loveliness.

14. What Draupadi means is that instead of passing her days in joy and
happiness, instead of being able to wish time to be stationary with her,
she is obliged in consequence of her misery, to wish time to pass off

15. Jayate asyas--i.e., she from whom one is born.

16. Some texts read, Vilwam nagaviodhara--i.e., ‘As an elephant lifts up
a vela fruit.’

17. Veri means both a kettle-drum and a trumpet. The latter however
conveys a better meaning here.

18. Literally, force of his thighs.

19. What Bhima says is this.--The Gandharvas, your husbands, are always
obedient to thee! If they have been able to do thee a service, they have
only repaid a debt.

20. Krita-krita--Nilakantha explains this to mean ‘imagining themselves
to have achieved success in their mission’ for having learnt of Kichaka’s
death, they could readily guess the presence of the Pandavas there. This
is too far-fetched and does not at all agree with the spirit of their
report to Duryodhana below. And then the same word occurs in the very
last line of the Section. I take it that in both places the word has been
used in the same sense.

21. This is a very difficult sloka. I am not sure that I have understood
it alright. Both Nilakantha and Arjuna Misra are silent. Instead of
depending, however, on my own intelligence, I have consulted several
friends who have read the Mahabharata thoroughly. The grammatical
structure is easy. The only difficulty consists in the second half of the
sloka. The meaning, however, I have given is consistent with the tenor of
Bhishma’s advice.

22. Indicating the unobstructed completion of the sacrifice.

23. The word tirtha here means, as Nilakantha rightly explains spies and
not holy spots.

24. Satram is explained by Nilakantha to mean here ‘false disguise.’ I
think, however, such an interpretation to be far-fetched. It evidently
means ‘forest’,--the use of ‘pravisteshu’ in connection with it almost
settles the point.

25. This sloka is not correctly printed in any of the texts that I have
seen. The reading that I adopt is that the second word is the participle
of the root budh and not the instrumental of budhi; the last word again
of the second line is a compound of valavatsu and avaleshu instead of (as
printed in many books) valavatswavaleshu. Any other reading would
certainly be incorrect. I have not consulted the Bombay text.

26. Bhagasas lit., each in its proper place. It may also mean, ‘according
to their respective division.’

27. Kalyana-patalam is explained by Nilakantha to mean suvarna

28. One of the generals of Virata.

29. Some differences of reading are noticeable here, for Yasaswinau some
texts read Manaswinau, and for Vahusamravdhau--Vahusanrambhat; and for

30. Some texts read Ghanabiva for Ghanarva. The latter is unquestionably
better in form.

31. The word in the original is Muhurta equal to 48 minutes. Nilakantha
points out very ingeniously that the night being the seventh of the dark
fortnight, the moon would not rise till after 14 Dandas from the hour of
sunset, a Danda being equal to 24 minutes. A Muhurta, therefore implies
not 48 minutes exactly, but some time.

32. Some Vikshyainam, Nilakantha explains Sama as a word spoken by Bhima
for assuring the captive Virata, and Vikshya as ‘assuring’ or ‘consoling
by a glance.’ Perhaps this is right.

33. The adjective Bhima-sankasas as explained by Nilakantha is in this
sense, quoting the celebrated simile of Valmiki.

34. To understand the comparison would require in the reader a knowledge
of the mechanism of the Indian Vina. Briefly, the Vina consists of a
bamboo of about 3 cubits attached to two gourds towards its ends. Along the
bamboo which serves the purpose of a finger-board, is the main chord and
several thinner wires. All these pass over a number of frets, two and a
half heptachords, representing the total compass of the instrument. The
wires rest towards their ends on two pieces of ivory called Upadhanas in
Sanskrit or Swaris in Urdu.

35. Some read kaniasi for vaviasi. Both words are the same, and mean the
same thing.

36. Vedi-Vilagna madhya--Vedi in this connection means a wasp and not, as
explained by Mallinatha in his commentary of the Kumarasambhava, a
sacrificial platform. I would remark in passing that many of the most
poetic and striking adjectives in both the Raghu and the Kumarasambhava
of Kalidasa are borrowed unblushingly from the Ramayana and the

37. Padma patrabha-nibha may also mean ‘of the splendour of the gem
called Marakata.’ Nilakantha, however, shows that this would militate
against the adjective Kankojwalatwacham below.

38. The princess being of the complexion of burnished gold and Arjuna
dark as a mass of clouds, the comparison is exceedingly appropriate. The
Vaishnava poets of Bengal never tire of this simile in speaking of Radha
and Krishna in the groves of Vrindavana.

39. The words in the original is pranayam, lit., love. Nilakantha,
however, explains it as meaning modesty, humility. I think, Nilakantha is
right. The relations between Arjuna and the princess were like those
between father and daughter.

40. This sloka is not correctly printed in any of the texts that I have
seen. The Burdwan Pandits read tat-samim. This I think, is correct, but
then asasada in the singular when the other verbs are all dual seems to
be correct. The poet must have used some other verb in the dual for

41. Some texts read Diptasya for Diptayam.

42. This sloka does not occur in every text. This is a typical
illustration of the round about way, frequently adopted by Sanskrit
writers, of expressing a simple truth. The excuse in the present instance
consists in Drona’s unwillingness to identify the solitary hero with
Arjuna, in the midst of all his hearers. Nadiji is an exclamation
referring to Bhishma, the son of the river Ganga. Lankesa-vanari-ketu is
simply ‘ape-bannered,’ or as rendered in the text, having the devastator
of the gardens of Lanka’s lord for the sign of his banner. Nagahvaya is
‘named after tree’ for Arjuna is the name of an Indian tree. Nagri-sunu
is ‘Indra’s son’,--Indra being the foe of mountains, for formerly it was
he who cut off the wings of all mountains and compelled them to be
stationary. He failed only in the case of Mainaka, the son of Himavat.

43. Indian insects of a particular kind.

44. Most editions read chapas which is evidently wrong. The correct
reading is avapas, meaning quiver. The Burdwan Pandits give this latter

45. Some read chandrargha-darsanas. The correct reading is

46. Most editions read hema-punkha and silasita in the instrumental
plural; the correct reading is their nominative plural forms.

47. Sayaka means here, as explained by Nilakantha, a sword, and not a

48. From the colour of his steeds.

49. Nilakantha spends much learning and ingenuity in making out that
sixty-five years in this connection means thirty-two years of ordinary
human computation.

50. Some texts read,--‘One large meteor fell.’

51. In some editions read,--Bharata dwijam, and Maha-hardam for
maha-drumam. The meaning would then be,--‘The banners (of the hostile
army) began to tremble in the sky, and large lakes were agitated.’

52. Some texts read Maharatham (incorrectly) for hiranmayan. Indeed,
Maharatham would give no meaning in this connection. The incomplete
edition of the Roy Press under the auspices of the Principal of the
Calcutta Sanskrit College abounds with such incorrect readings and

53. The Roy Press edition adds here a line which looks very much like an

54. The true reading is Acharya in the dual number, meaning Drona and
Kripa. Some texts read the word in the singular form. Nilakantha notices
both these reading, but prefers the dual to the singular.

55. The meaning is rather doubtful. Duryodhana seems to say that ‘the
hostile appearance of Arjuna has been an act of imprudence on his part.
The Pandavas, after the expiry of the thirteenth year, would claim their
kingdom. I, Duryodhana, may or may not accede to their demand. When,
therefore, it was not certain that Arjuna would be refused by me, his
hostile appearance is unwise. He has come sure of victory, but he may yet
be defeated.’

56. The sense seems to be that when moralists even are puzzled in judging
of the propriety or otherwise of their acts, it can easily be imagined
that the Pandavas, however virtuous, have, in the matter of this their
appearance, acted wrongly, for, after all, the thirteenth year may not
have really been over as believed by them. Or, it may mean, that as
regards our presence here, we have not acted imprudently when even
moralists cannot always arrive at right conclusion. It seems that for
this Duryodhana proceeds to justify that presence in the following

The Mahabharata


Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa



Translated into English Prose from the Original Sanskrit Text


Kisari Mohan Ganguli


Scanned at sacred-texts.com, 2004. Proofed by John Bruno Hare, October




OM! HAVING BOWED down to Narayana, and Nara the most exalted of male
beings, and also to the goddess Saraswati, must the word Jaya be uttered.

Vaisampayana said, “Then those valiant descendants of Kuru, who belonged
to the same party (with Virata), having joyfully celebrated the nuptials
of Abhimanyu and rested themselves that night, presented themselves at
dawn, well pleased, in the court of Virata, And the chamber of the king
of the Matsya was full of riches, and variegated with choice gems and
precious stones, with seats methodically arranged, adorned with garlands,
and filled with fragrance. And those mighty monarchs of men all came to
that place. And on the seats in front sat the two kings Virata and
Drupada. And the revered and aged rulers of the earth, and Valarama and
Krishna along with their father, all sat there. And close to the king of
Panchala was seated the great hero of the race of Sini, together with the
son of Rohini. And side by side with the king of the Matsya sat Krishna
and Yudhishthira, and all the sons of king Drupada, and Bhima and Arjuna,
and the two sons of Madri, and Pradyumna and Samva, both valiant in
battle, and Abhimanyu with Virata’s sons. And those princes, the sons of
Draupadi, rivalling their fathers in valour, strength, grace, and
prowess, sat upon excellent seats inlaid with gold. And when those mighty
heroes wearing shining ornaments and robes had set themselves down, that
gorgeous assembly of kings looked beautiful like the firmament spangled
with resplendent stars. And those valiant men, assembled together, having
conversed with one another upon various topics, remained for some time in
a pensive mood, with their eyes fixed upon Krishna. And at the end of
their talk, Krishna drew their attention to the affairs of the Pandavas.
And those powerful kings together listened to Krishna’s speech, pregnant
and lofty. And Krishna said, ‘It is known to you all, how this
Yudhishthira was deceitfully defeated at dice by the son of Suvala, and
how he was robbed of his kingdom and how a stipulation was made by him
concerning his exile in the forest. And capable as they were of
conquering the earth by force, the sons of Pandu remained firm in their
plighted faith. And accordingly for six and seven years these
incomparable men accomplished the cruel task imposed upon them. And this
last, the thirteenth year, was exceedingly hard for them to pass. Yet
unrecognised by any one they have passed it, as known to you, suffering
unendurable hardships of various kinds. This is known to you all. These
illustrious men have spent the thirteenth year, employed in menial
service of others. This being so, it is for you to consider what will be
for the good of both Yudhishthira and Duryodhana, and what, as regards
the Kurus and the Pandavas, will be consistent with the rules of
righteousness and propriety and what will meet with the approbation of
all. The virtuous king Yudhishthira would not unrighteously covet even
the celestial kingdom. But righteously he would accept the rule even of a
single village. How the sons of Dhritarashtra fraudulently robbed him of
his paternal kingdom, and how he hath passed a life of unendurable
hardships, are known to all the kings assembled here. The sons of
Dhritarashtra are incapable of overcoming by strength Arjuna, the son of
Pritha. Nevertheless, king Yudhishthira and his friends have no other
desire than the good of Dhritarashtra’s son. These brave sons of Kunti,
and the two sons of Madri, ask for only what they themselves, achieving
victory in battle, had won from the defeated kings. You, no doubt, know
full well how those enemies of the Pandavas--with the object of
possessing themselves of the kingdom, endeavoured by various means to
destroy them, when they were yet mere boys, so wicked and rancorous they
were. Consider, how grasping they are and how virtuous Yudhishthira is.
Consider also the relationship that exists between them. I beseech you
all to consult together and also think separately. The Pandavas have
always had a regard for truth. They have fulfilled their promise to the
very letter. If now treated wrongfully by the sons of Dhritarashtra, they
would slay them all though banded together. They have friends, who, on
being informed of their unworthy treatment at the hands of others, would
stand by them, engaged in fight with their persecutors, and willingly
slay them even if they should lose their own lives for it. If you suppose
them to be too few to be capable of winning a victory over their enemies,
you must know that united together and followed by their friends, they
would, no doubt, try their utmost to destroy those enemies. What
Duryodhana thinks is not exactly known, nor what he may do. When the mind
of the other side is not known, what opinion can be formed by you as to
what is best to be done? Therefore, let a person, virtuous and honest and
of respectable birth, and wary,--an able ambassador, set out to beseech
them mildly for inducing them to give half the kingdom to Yudhishthira.
Having listened to the speech of Krishna, marked by prudence and a regard
for virtue and showing a pacific and impartial spirit, his elder brother
then addressed the assembly bestowing high encomiums on the words of the
younger brother.’”


“Baladeva said, ‘You have all listened to the speech of him who is the
elder brother of Gada, characterised as it is by a sense of virtue and
prudence, and salutary alike to Yudhishthira and king Duryodhana. These
valiant sons of Kunti are ready to give up half their kingdom, and they
make this sacrifice for the sake of Duryodhana. The sons of
Dhritarashtra, therefore, should give up half of the kingdom, and should
rejoice and be exceedingly happy with us that the quarrel can be so
satisfactorily settled. These mighty persons having obtained the kingdom
would, no doubt, be pacified and happy, provided the opposite party
behave well. For them to be pacified will redound to the welfare of men.
And I should be well-pleased if somebody from here, with the view of
pacifying both the Kurus and the Pandavas, should undertake a journey and
ascertain what is the mind of Duryodhana and explain the views of
Yudhishthira. Let him respectfully salute Bhishma the heroic scion of
Kuru’s race, and the magnanimous son of Vichitravirya, and Drona along
with his son, and Vidura and Kripa, and the king of Gandhara, along with
the Suta’s son. Let him also pay his respects to all the other sons of
Dhritarashtra, to all who are renowned for strength and learning, devoted
to their proper duties, heroic, and conversant with signs of the times.
When all these persons are gathered together and when also the elderly
citizens are assembled, let him speak words full of humility and likely
to serve the interests of Yudhishthira. At all events, let them not be
provoked, for they have taken possession of the kingdom with a strong
hand. When Yudhishthira had his throne, he forgot himself by being
engaged in gambling and was dispossessed by them of his kingdom. This
valiant Kuru, this descendant of Ajamida, Yudhishthira, though not
skilled in dice and though dissuaded by all his friends, challenged the
son of the king of Gandhara, an adept at dice, to the match. There were
then at that place thousands of dice-players whom Yudhishthira could
defeat in a match. Taking however, no notice of any of them, he
challenged Suvala’s son of all men to the game, and so he lost. And
although the dice constantly went against him, he would still have Sakuni
alone for his opponent. Competing with Sakuni in the play, he sustained a
crushing defeat. For this, no blame can attach to Sakuni. Let the
messenger make use of words characterised by humility, words intended to
conciliate Vichitravirya’s son. The messenger may thus bring round
Dhritarashtra’s son to his own views. Do not seek war with the Kurus;
address Duryodhana in only a conciliatory tone. The object may possibly
fail to be gained by war, but it may be gained by conciliation, and by
this means also it may be gained enduringly.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “While that valiant scion of Madhu’s race was
even continuing his speech, the gallant son of the race of Sini suddenly
rose up and indignantly condemned the words of the former by these words
of his.”


“Satyaki said, ‘Even as a man’s heart is, so doth he speak! Thou art
speaking in strict conformity with the nature of thy heart. There are
brave men, and likewise those that are cowards. Men may be divided into
these two well defined classes. As upon a single large tree there may be
two boughs one of which beareth fruits while the other doth not, so from
the self-same line of progenitors may spring persons that are imbecile as
well as those that are endowed with great strength. O thou bearing the
sign of a plough on thy banner, I do not, in sooth, condemn the words
thou hast spoken, but I simply condemn those, O son of Madhu, who are
listening to thy words! How, indeed, can he, who unblushingly dares
attach even the slightest blame in the virtuous king Yudhishthira be
permitted to speak at all in the midst of the assembly? Persons clever in
the game of dice challenged the magnanimous Yudhishthira unskilled as he
is in play, and confiding in them he was defeated! Can such persons be
said to have virtuously won the game? If they had come to Yudhishthira
while playing in this house with his brothers and defeated him there,
then what they would have won would have been righteously won. But they
challenged Yudhishthira who was bound in conscience to follow the rules
observed by the military caste, and they won by a trick. What is there in
this conduct of theirs that is righteous? And how can this Yudhishthira
here, having performed to the utmost the stipulations entered into by way
of stakes in the play, freed from the promise of a sojourn in the forest,
and therefore entitled to his ancestral throne, humble himself? Even if
Yudhishthira coveted other people’s possessions, still it would not
behove him to beg! How can they be said to be righteous and not intent on
usurping the throne when, although the Pandavas have lived out their
sojourn of concealment unrecognised, they still say that the latter had
been recognised? They were besought by Bhishma and the magnanimous Drona,
but they would not yet consent to give back to the Pandavas the throne
that belongeth to them by right of birth. The means with which I would
beseech them would be sharp arrows. I shall fight and with a strong hand
force them to prostrate themselves at the feet of the illustrious son of
Kunti. If, however, they do not bow at the feet of the wise Yudhishthira,
then they and their partisans must go to the regions of Yama. When
Yuyudhana (myself) is enraged and resolved to fight, they, to be sure,
are unequal to withstand his impetus, as mountains are unable to resist
that of the thunderbolt. Who can withstand Arjuna in fight, or him who
hath the discus for his weapon in battle, or myself as well? Who can
withstand the unapproachable Bhima? And who, having regard for his life,
would come near the twin brothers who firmly grasp their bows and
resemble the death-dealing Yama in intelligence? Who would approach
Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Drupada, or these five sons of the Pandavas
who have added lustre to Draupadi’s name, rivalling their fathers in
valour, equal to them in every respect and full of martial pride, or him
of the powerful bow, Subhadra’s son, irresistible by even the gods
themselves; or Gada, or Pradyumna, or Samva, resembling Yama or the
thunderbolt or fire? We shall slay Dhritarashtra’s son and Sakuni and
Karna in battle, and place the Pandava on the throne. There is no sin in
slaying them that are bent on slaying us: but to be a beggar before foes
is both impious and infamous. I ask you to be diligent in doing that
which is heartily desired by Yudhishthira. Let Pandu’s son get back the
kingdom resigned by Dhritarashtra! Either Yudhishthira should get back
his kingdom this very day or all our enemies shall lie down on the earth
slain by me!’”


“Drupada said, ‘O mighty-armed one, it will, without doubt, be even as
thou hast said! Never will Duryodhana give up the kingdom by peaceful
means, and Dhritarashtra, who dotes on his son, will follow him in his
wish. And so will Bhishma and Drona from imbecility, and Karna and Sakuni
from folly. The words of Valadeva command themselves to my judgment; the
course pointed out by him should, indeed, be followed by a man who
desires peaceful settlement. But Duryodhana should never be addressed in
mild words. Vicious by nature, he, I believe cannot be brought to reason
by mildness. In respect of an ass, mildness is in place; but in respect
of animals of the bovine species, severity should be resorted to. If any
one were to speak mild words to Duryodhana, vicious by nature that wicked
wight would consider the speaker to be an imbecile person. If a mild
course is adopted towards him, the fool will think that he has won. Let
us do even this, let us make preparations; let us send word to our
friends that they may collect an army for us. Let speedy messengers go to
Salya, and Dhrishtaketu, and Jayatsena, and the prince of the Kekayas.
Duryodhana also, on his part, will send word to all the kings,
Rightminded persons, however, respond to the request of those that first
beseech them. Therefore, I ask you to make haste in first preferring your
suit to these rulers of men. Meseems that a great undertaking is awaiting
us. Quickly send word to Salya, and to the kings under him, and to king
Bhagadatta of immeasurable valour residing on the eastern sea-coast, and
to fierce Hardikya, and Ahuka, and the king of the Mallas of powerful
understanding, and Rochamana. Let Vrihanta be summoned and king
Senavindu, and Vahlika and Mudjakesa and the ruler of the Chedis, and
Suparsva, Suvahu; and that great hero, Paurava; and also the kings of the
Sakas, the Pahlavas, and the Daradas, and Surari, and Nadija, and king
Karnavest, and Nila, and the valiant king Viradharman; and Durjaya, and
Dantavakra, and Rukmi, and Janamejaya; and Ashada and Vayuvega, and king
Purvapali; and Bhuritejas, and Devaka, and Ekalaya with his sons; and
also the kings of the Krausha race, and the valiant Kshemamurti, and the
kings of the Kamboja and the Richika tribes, and of the western
sea-coast; and Jayatsena and the king of Kashi, and the rulers of the
land of the five rivers, and the proud son of Kratha, and the rulers of
the mountain regions, and Janaki, and Susarman and Maniman, and
Potimatsyaka, and the valiant Dhrishtaketu, and the ruler of the kingdom
of Pansu; and Paundra, and Dandadhara, and the brave Vrihatsena; and
Aparajita, and Nishada and Srenimat and Vasumat; and Vrihadvala of great
strength, and Vahu the conqueror of hostile cities; and the warlike king
Samudrasena with his son; and Uddhava, and Kshemaka and king Vatadhana;
and Srutayus, and Dridhayus, and the gallant son of Salwa; and the king
of the Kalingas, and Kumara, unconquerable in battle. Speedily send word
to these. This is what recommends itself to me. And let this my priest,
learned Brahmana, be sent, O king, to Dhritarashtra. Tell him the words
he is to say and what Duryodhana should be told; and how Bhishma is to be
addressed, and how Drona, that best of car-warriors!’”


“Krishna said, ‘These worlds are worthy of the chief of the Somaka tribe,
and are calculated to promote the interests of Pandu’s son of
immeasurable strength. As we are desirous of adopting a politic course,
this is, no doubt, our first duty; a man acting otherwise would be a
great fool. But our relationship to both the Kurus and the Pandus is
equal, howsoever these two parties may behave with each other. Both you
and we have been invited here on the occasion of a marriage. The marriage
having now been celebrated, let us go home well-pleased. You are the
foremost of kings, both in years and learning; and here we all, no doubt
are as if your pupils. Dhritarashtra has always entertained a great
respect for you; and you are also a friend of the preceptors Drona and
Kripa. I, therefore, ask you to send a message (to the Kurus) in the
interests of the Pandavas. We all resolve even upon this that you should
send a message unto them. If that chief of the Kuru race should make
peace on equitable terms, then the brotherly feelings between the Kuras
and the Pandus will sustain no injury. If on the other hand, the son of
Dhritarashtra should wax haughty and from folly refuse to make peace,
then, having summoned others, summon us too. The holder of Gandiva then
will be fired with wrath and the dull-headed and wicked Duryodhana, with
his partisans and friends, will meet his fate.’”

Vaisampayana said, “King Virata, then having honoured Krishna, sent him
home with his followers and relatives. And after Krishna had set out for
Dwaraka, Yudhishthira and his followers, with king Virata, began to make
preparations for war. And Virata and his relatives sent word to all the
monarchs, and king Drupada also did the same. And at the request of those
lions of the Kuru race, as also of the two kings of the Matsyas and the
Panchalas, many lords of the earth possessed of great strength, came to
the place with cheerful hearts. And when the sons of Dhritarashtra heard
that the Pandavas had collected a large army, they also assembled many
rulers of the earth. And, O king, at that time the whole land became
thronged with the rulers of the earth who were marching to espouse the
cause of either the Kurus or the Pandavas. And the land was full of
military bands composed of four kinds of forces. And from all sides the
forces began to pour in. And the goddess Earth with her mountains and
forests seemed to tremble beneath their tread. And the king of the
Panchalas, having consulted the wishes of Yudhishthira, despatched to the
Kurus his own priest, who was old both in years and understanding.”


“Drupada said, ‘Of beings those that are endowed with life are superior.
Of living beings those that are endowed with intelligence are superior.
Of intelligent creatures men are superior. Of men the twice-born are
superior. Of the twice-born, students of the Veda are superior. Of
students of the Veda those of cultured understanding are superior. Of
cultured men practical persons are superior. And finally, of practical
men those knowing the Supreme Being are superior. You, it seems to me,
are at the very top of those that are of cultured understanding. You are
distinguished both for age and learning. You are equal in intellect to
either Sukra or Vrihaspati, the son of Angiras. You know what kind of man
the chief of the Kuru race is, and what kind of man also is Yudhishthira,
the son of Kunti. It was with Dhritarashtra’s knowledge that the Pandavas
were deceived by their opponents. Though instructed by Vidura he yet
follows his son. Sakuni advisedly challenged Yudhishthira to a gambling
match although the latter was unskilled in gambling while the former was
an adept in it. Unskilled in play, Yudhishthira was guileless and firm in
following the rules of the military order. Having thus cheated the
virtuous king Yudhishthira, they will, by no means, voluntarily yield up
the kingdom. If you speak words of righteousness unto Dhritarashtra, you
will certainly gain the hearts of his fighting men. Vidura also will make
use of those words of yours and will thus alienate the hearts of Bhishma,
and Drona, and Kripa, and others. When the officers of state are
alienated and fighting men are backward, the task of the enemy will be to
gain back their hearts. In the meantime, the Pandavas will, with ease and
with their whole hearts, address themselves in preparing the army and in
collecting stores. And when the enemy’s adherents are estranged, and
while you are hanging about them, they will surely not be able to make
adequate preparations for war. This course seems expedient in this wise.
On your meeting with Dhritarashtra it is possible that Dhritarashtra may
do what you say. And as you are virtuous, you must therefore act
virtuously towards them. And to the compassionate, you must descant upon
the various hardships that the Pandavas have endured. And you must
estrange the hearts of the aged persons by discoursing upon the family
usages which were followed by their forefathers. I do not entertain the
slightest doubt in this matter. Nor need you be apprehensive of any
danger from them, for you are a Brahmana, versed in the Vedas; and you
are going thither as an ambassador, and more specially, you are an aged
man. Therefore, I ask you to set out without delay towards the Kauravas
with the object of promoting the interests of the Pandavas, timing your
departure under the (astrological) combination called Pushya and at that
part of the day called Jaya.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus instructed by the magnanimous Drupada, the
virtuous priest set out for Hastinapura (the city called after the
elephant). And that learned man, well-versed in the principles of the
science of politics, started with a following of disciples towards the
Kurus for the sake of promoting the welfare of Pandu’s sons.”


Vaisampayana said, “Having despatched the priest to the city called
after the elephant they sent messengers to the kings of various
countries. And having sent messengers to other places, the Kuru hero
Dhananjaya, that bull among men and son of Kunti, himself set out for
Dwaraka. And after Krishna and Valadeva, the descendants of Madhu, had
both departed for Dwaraka with all the Vrishnis, the Andhakas and the
Bhojas, by hundreds, the royal son of Dhritarashtra had, by sending
secret emissaries, furnished himself with information of all the doings
of the Pandavas. And learning that Krishna was on his way, the prince
went to the city of Dwaraka by means of fine horses possessing the speed
of the wind, and taking with him a small number of troops. And on that
very day the son of Kunti and Pandu, Dhananjaya, also speedily arrived at
the beautiful city of the Anarta land. And the two scions of the Kuru
race, those tigers among men, on arriving there saw that Krishna was
asleep, and drew near him as he lay down. And as Krishna was sleeping,
Duryodhana entered the room, and sat down on a fine seat at the head of
the bed. And after him entered that wearer of the diadem the magnanimous
Arjuna, and stood at the back of the bed, bowing and joining his hands.
And when the descendant of Vrishni, Krishna awoke, he first cast his eyes
on Arjuna. And having asked them as to the safety of their journey, and
having fitly bestowed his greetings upon them, the slayer of Madhu
questioned them as to the occasion of their visit. Then Duryodhana
addressed Krishna, with a cheerful countenance, saying, ‘It behoveth you
to lend me your help in the impending war. Arjuna and myself are both
equally your friends. And, O descendant of Madhu, you also bear the same
relationship to both of us. And today, O slayer of Madhu, I have been the
first to come to you. Right-minded persons take up the cause of him who
comes first to them. This is how the ancients acted. And, O Krishna, you
stand at the very top of all right-minded persons in the world, and are
always respected. I ask you to follow the rule of conduct observed by
rightminded men.’ Thereat Krishna replied, ‘That you have come first, O
king, I do not in the least doubt. But, O king, the son of Kunti,
Dhananjaya, has been first beheld by me. On account of your first
arrival, and on account of my having beheld Arjuna first, I shall, no
doubt, lend my assistance, O Suyodhana, to both. But it is said that
those who are junior in years should have the first choice. Therefore,
Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, is entitled to first choice. There is a
large body of cowherds numbering ten crores, rivalling me in strength and
known as the Narayanas, all of whom are able to fight in the thick of
battle. These soldiers, irresistible in battle, shall be sent to one of
you and I alone, resolved not to fight on the field, and laying down my
arms, will go to the other. You may, O son of Kunti, first select
whichever of these two commends itself to you. For, according to law, you
have the right to the first choice.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Krishna, Dhananjaya the son
of Kunti selected Kesava who was not to fight on the battle-field, even
Narayana himself, the slayer of foes, increate, born among men at his own
will,--the foremost of all Kshatriyas and above all the gods and the
Danavas. And Duryodhana selected for himself that entire army (composed
of the Narayanas). And, O descendant of Bharata, having obtained those
troops numbering thousands upon thousands, he was exceedingly delighted,
although he knew that Krishna was not on his side. And having secured
that army possessed of terrible prowess, Duryodhana went to the son of
Rohini of great strength, and explained to him, the object of his visit.
The descendant of Sura in reply addressed the following words to
Dhritarashtra’s son, ‘Thou shouldst remember, O tiger among men, all that
I said at the marriage ceremony celebrated by Virata. O thou delighter
of the race of Kuru, for thy sake I then contradicted Krishna and spoke
against his opinions. And again and again I alluded to the equality of
our relationship to both the parties. But Krishna did not adopt the views
I then expressed; nor can I separate myself from Krishna for even a
single moment. And seeing that I cannot act against Krishna even this is
resolution formed by me, viz., that I will fight neither for Kunti’s sons
nor for you. And, O bull of the Bharatas, born as thou art in Bharata’s
race that is honoured by all the kings, go and fight in accordance with
the rules of propriety.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, Duryodhana embraced that hero
wielding a plough for his weapon of battle, and although knowing that
Krishna had been taken away from his side, he yet regarded Arjuna as
already vanquished. And the royal son of Dhritarashtra then went to
Kritavarman. And Kritavarman gave him a body of troops numbering an
Akshauhini. And surrounded by that military host, terrible to behold, the
Kaurava marched forth delighting his friends. And after Duryodhana had
departed, Krishna, the Creator of the world, clad in yellow attire,
addressed Kiritin, saying, ‘For what reason is it that you have selected
me who will not fight at all?’

“Thereupon Arjuna answered, ‘I question not that you are able to slay
them all. I also am alone capable of slaying them, O best of men. But you
are an illustrious person in the world; and this renown will accompany
you. I also am a suitor for fame; therefore, you have been selected by
me. It hath been always my desire to have you for driving my car. I,
therefore, ask you to fulfil my desire cherished for a long time.’

“Vasudeva’s son thereupon said, ‘It beseems thee well, O Kunti’s son, that
thou measurest thyself with me. I will act as thy charioteer; let thy
wish be fulfilled.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then with a glad heart, Kunti’s son,
accompanied by Krishna as well as by the flower of the Dasarha race, came
back to Yudhishthira.”


Vaisampayana said, “O king, having learnt the news from the messengers,
Salya, accompanied by a large body of troops and by his sons, all of whom
were mighty in battle, was coming to the Pandavas. His encampment covered
an area of one and a half yojana, so large was the force owned by that
best of men. He was the master, O king, of an Akshauhini and had great
prowess and valour. And there were in his army heroes bearing armour of
various colours, with diverse kinds of banners and bows and ornaments and
cars and animals, all wearing excellent garlands, and various robes and
ornaments. And hundreds and thousands of foremost of Kshatriyas were the
leaders of his troops, dressed and decorated in the manner of their
native land. And he proceeded by slow marches, giving rest to his troops,
towards the place where the Pandava was. And the creatures of the earth
felt oppressed and the earth trembled under the tread of his troops. And
king Duryodhana, hearing that magnanimous and mighty hero was on his way,
hastened towards him and paid him honours, O best of the Bharata race and
caused finely decorated places of entertainment to be constructed at
different spots for his reception, on beautiful sites, and whither many
artists were directed to entertain the guests. And those pavilions
contained garlands and meat and the choicest viands and drinks, and wells
of various forms, capable of refreshing the heart, and tanks of various
forms, and edibles, and roomy apartments. And arriving at those
pavilions, and waited upon like a very god by the servants of Duryodhana
located at different spots, Salya reached another house of entertainment
resplendent as a retreat of the celestials. And there, greeted with
choice creature-comforts fit for beings superior to man, he deemed
himself superior even to the lord himself of the gods and thought meanly
of Indra as compared with himself. And that foremost of Kshatriyas,
well-pleased, asked the servants, saying, ‘Where are those men of
Yudhishthira, who have prepared these places of refreshment? Let those
men who made these be brought to me. I deem them worthy of being rewarded
by me. I must reward them, let it so please the son of Kunti!’ The
servants, surprised, submitted the whole matter to Duryodhana. And when
Salya was exceedingly pleased and ready to grant even his life,
Duryodhana, who had remained concealed, came forward and showed himself
to his maternal uncle. And the king of the Madras saw him and understood
that it was Duryodhana who had taken all the trouble to receive him. And
Salya embraced Duryodhana and said, ‘Accept something that you may

“Duryodhana thereupon said, ‘O thou auspicious one, let thy word be true,
grant me a boon. I ask thee to be the leader of all my army.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “And hearing this, Salya said, ‘Be it so! What
else is to be done?’ And the son of Gandhari repeated again and again,
‘It is done.’ And Salya said, ‘O Duryodhana, O best of men, go to thy own
city. I shall proceed to pay a visit to Yudhishthira, the subduer of
foes. O king, I shall speedily come back, O ruler of men. That best of
men, Pandu’s son Yudhishthira, must, by all means, be visited by me.’ And
hearing this Duryodhana said, ‘O king, O ruler of the earth, having seen
the Pandava, come speedily back. I depend entirely upon thee, O king of
kings. Remember the boon that thou hast granted me.’ And Salya answered,
‘Good betide thee! I shall come speedily back. Repair to thy own city, O
protector of men.’ And then those two kings Salya and Duryodhana embraced
each other. And having thus greeted Salya, Duryodhana came back to his
own city. And Salya went to inform the sons of Kunti of that proceeding
of his. And having reached Upaplavya, and entered the encampment, Salya
saw there all the sons of Panda. And the mighty-armed Salya having met
the sons of Panda, accepted as usual water for washing his feet, and the
customary gifts of honour including a cow. And the king of the Madras,
that slayer of foes, first asked them how they were, and then with great
delight embraced Yudhishthira, and Bhima, and Arjuna, and the sons of his
sister the two twin-brothers. And when all had sat down, Salya spoke to
Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, saying, ‘O tiger among kings, O thou
delighter of the race of Kuru, is it all well with thee? O best of
victors, how fortunately hast thou spent the term of thy residence in the
wilderness, O king. O lord of monarchs, it was an exceedingly hard task
that thou hast performed by dwelling in the wilderness together with thy
brothers and this noble lady here. An awfully difficult task again was
that sojourn of thine,--the period of concealment,--which task also thou
hast performed, O descendant of Bharata; for one pulled down from a
throne it is nothing but hardship that awaits him. O king, where is there
any happiness for him! O afflicter of thy foes, in compensation for all
this vast misery wrought by Dhritarashtra’s son, thou wilt attain to
proportional happiness after having killed thy foes, O great king. O lord
of men, the ways of the world are known to thee. Therefore, O my son,
thou art never guided by avarice in any of thy dealings. O descendant of
Bharata, do thou tread on the foot-prints of ancient saintly kings. My
son, Yudhishthira, be steady in the path of liberality, and
self-abnegation, and truth. And, O royal Yudhishthira, mercy and self
control, and truth and universal sympathy, and everything wonderful in
this world, are to be found in thee. Thou art mild, munificent,
religious, and liberal, and thou regardest virtue as the highest good. O
king, many are the rules of virtue that prevail amongst men, and all
those are known to thee. O my son, O afflicter of foes, thou knowest in
fact everything relating to this world. O king, O best of Bharata’s race,
how lucky it is that thou hast come out of this difficulty of thine. How
lucky, O king, O foremost of monarchs, O lord, it is that I see thee, so
virtuous a soul, a treasure-house of righteousness, freed with thy
followers from this.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then, O descendant of Bharata, the king spoke
of his meeting with Duryodhana and gave a detailed account regarding that
promise of his and that boon granted by himself. And Yudhishthira said, ‘O
valiant king, it has been well-done by thee that being pleased at heart
thou hast plighted thy truth to Duryodhana. But good betide thee, O ruler
of the earth, I ask thee to do one thing only. O king, O best of men,
thou wilt have to do it solely for my sake, though it may not be proper
to be done. O valiant one, hear what I submit to thee. O great king, thou
art equal to Krishna on the field of battle. When, O best of kings, the
single combat between Karna and Arjuna will take place, I have no doubt
thou wilt have to drive Karna’s car. On that occasion, if thou art
inclined to do good to me, thou must protect Arjuna. O king, thou must
likewise so act that the Suta’s son Karna may be dispirited and the
victory may be ours. Improper it no doubt is; but, O my uncle, for all
that thou must do it.’ Salya said, ‘Good betide thee. Listen, O son of
Pandu. Thou tellest me to so act that the vile son of the Suta may be
dispirited in fight. To be sure, I shall be his charioteer on the field,
for he always considers me equal to Krishna. O tiger like descendant of
Kuru, I shall certainly speak to him, when desirous of fighting on the
field of battle, words contradictory and fraught with harm to him, so
that bereft of pride and valour, he may be easily slain by his
antagonist. This I tell thee truly. Asked by thee to do it, this I am
determined to do, O my son. Whatever else I may be able to bring about, I
shall do for thy good. Whatever troubles were suffered by thee together
with Draupadi on the occasion of the game at dice, the rude inhuman words
uttered by the Suta’s son, the misery inflicted by the Asura Jata and by
Kichaka, O illustrious one, all the miseries experienced by Draupadi,
like those formerly experienced by Damayanti,--will all, O hero, end in
joy. Thou shouldst not be aggrieved at this; for Destiny is all powerful
in this world; and, O Yudhishthira, high-minded persons have to endure
miseries of various kinds, nay, even the gods themselves, O king, have
suffered misfortunes. O king, O descendant of Bharata, it is narrated
that the high-minded Indra, the chief of the celestials, had to endure
together with his wife very great misery, indeed.’”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O foremost of monarchs, I wish to know how it was
that great and unparalleled misery had to be endured by the illustrious
Indra together with his queen.’

“Salya said, ‘Listen, O king, to me as I relate this ancient story of the
events of former days,--how, O descendant of Bharata, misery befell Indra
and his wife. Once Twashtri, the lord of creatures and the foremost of
celestials, was engaged in practising rigid austerities. And it is said
that from antipathy to Indra he created a son having three heads. And
that being of universal form possessed of great lustre hankered after
Indra’s seat. And possessed of those three awful faces resembling the
sun, the moon, and the fire, he read the Vedas with one mouth, drank wine
with another, and looked with the third as if he would absorb all the
cardinal points. And given to the practice of austerities, and mild being
and self-controlled, he was intent upon a life of religious practices and
austerities. And his practice of austerities, O subduer of foes, was
rigid and terrible and of an exceedingly severe character. And beholding
the austerities, courage, and truthfulness of this one possessed of
immeasurable energy, Indra became anxious, fearing lest that being should
take his place. And Indra reflected, “How may he be made to addict
himself to sensual enjoyments; how may he be made to cease his practice
of such rigid austerities? For were the three-headed being to wax strong,
he would absorb the whole universe.” And it was thus that Indra pondered
in his mind; and, O best of Bharata’s race, endued with intelligence, he
ordered the celestial nymphs to tempt the son of Twashtri. And he
commanded them, saying, “Be quick, and go without delay, and so tempt him
that the three-headed being may plunge himself into sensual enjoyment to
the utmost extent. Furnished with captivating hips, array yourselves in
voluptuous attires, and decking yourselves in charming necklaces, do ye
display gestures and blandishments of love. Endued with loveliness, do ye
tempt him and alleviate my dread. I feel restless in my heart, O lovely
damsels. Avert ye, ladies, this awful peril that hangs over me. Good
betide you.”’

“‘Then the nymphs said, “O Indra, O slayer of Vala, we shall so endeavour
to allure him that thou wilt have nothing to fear at his hands. That very
receptacle of austerities, sitting now as if scorching everything with
his eyes, O god, we are going together to tempt. We shall try to bring
him under our control, and to put an end to your fears.”’

“Salya continued, ‘Commanded by Indra, they then went to the three-headed
being. And arriving there, those lovely damsels tempted him with various
gestures of love, displaying their fine figures. But engaged in the
practice of exceedingly severe austerities, although he looked at them,
yet he was not influenced by desire. Of subdued senses he was like the
ocean, full to the brim, in gravity. And the nymphs after having tried
their best, came back to Indra. And they all with joined hands spoke to
the lord of the celestials, saying, “O, that unapproachable being is
incapable of being disturbed by us. O highly gifted being, thou mayst do
what now may seem proper to thee.” The high-minded Indra honoured the
nymphs and then dismissed them reflecting, O Yudhishthira, solely upon
other means of destroying his foe. And endued with intelligence, he fixed
upon a contrivance for destroying the three-headed being. And he said,
“Let me today hurt my thunderbolt at him. By this means he will speedily
be killed. Even a strong person should not overlook a rising foe,
contemptible though he may be.” And thus reflecting upon the lessons
inculcated in treatises of learning, he was firmly resolved upon slaying
that being. Then Indra, enraged, hurled at the three-headed being his
thunderbolt which looked like fire and was terrible to behold, and which
inspired dread. And forcibly struck by that thunderbolt, he was slain and
fell down, as falls on the earth the loosened summit of a hill. And
beholding him slain by the thunderbolt, and lying down huge as a hill,
the chief of the celestials found no peace, and felt as if scorched by
the effulgent appearance of the dead; for though slain, he had a blazing
and effulgent appearance and looked like one alive. And, strange to say,
though lifeless, his heads seemed to be alive as they were beheld lying
low on the field. And exceedingly afraid of that lustre, Indra remained
plunged in thought. And at that time, O great king, bearing an axe on his
shoulder, a carpenter came to the forest and approached the spot where
lay that being. And Indra, the lord of Sachi, who was afraid, saw the
carpenter come there by chance. And the chastiser of Paka said unto him
immediately, “Do this my behest. Quickly cut off this one’s heads.” The
carpenter thereupon said, “His shoulders are broad: this axe will not be
able to cut them off. Nor shall I be able to do what is condemned by
righteous persons.” And Indra said, “Do not fear, quickly do what I say.
At my command thy axe shall equal the thunderbolt.” The carpenter said,
“Whom am I to take thee to be who hast done this frightful deed today?
This I wish to learn, tell me the exact truth.” And Indra said, “O
carpenter, I am Indra, the chief of the gods. Let this be known to thee.
Do thou act just as I have told thee. Do not hesitate, O carpenter!” The
carpenter said, “O Indra, how is it that thou art not ashamed of this thy
inhuman act? How it is that thou hast no dread of the sin of slaying a
Brahmana, after having slain this son of a saint?” Indra said, “I shall
afterwards perform some religious ceremony of a rigorous kind to purify
myself from this taint. This was a powerful enemy of mine whom I have
killed with my thunderbolt. Even now I am uneasy, O carpenter; I, indeed,
dread him even now. Do thou quickly cut off his heads, I shall bestow my
favour upon thee. In sacrifices, men will give thee the head of the
sacrificial beast as thy share. This is the favour I confer on thee. Do
thou quickly perform what I desire.”’

“Salya said, ‘Hearing this, the carpenter, at the request of the great
Indra, immediately severed the heads of the three-headed one with his
axe. And when the heads were cut off, out flew therefrom a number of
birds, viz., partridges, quails and sparrows. And from the mouth
wherewith he used to recite the Vedas and to drink the Soma-juice, came
out partridges in quick succession. And, O king, O son of Pandu, from the
mouth with which he used to look at the cardinal points as if absorbing
them all, a number of quails came forth. And from that mouth of the
three-headed being which used to drink wine, out flew a number of
sparrows and hawks. And the heads having been cut off Indra was freed
from his trepidation, and went to heaven, glad at heart. And the
carpenter also went back to his house. And the slayer of Asuras, having
killed his foe, considered his object gained. Now when the lord of
creatures, Twashtri, heard that his son had been slain by Indra, his eyes
became red with ire, and he spoke the following words, “Since Indra hath
killed my son who had committed no offence at all, who was constantly
engaged in the practice of austerities, who was merciful, possessed of
self-control, and of subdued passions, therefore, for the destruction of
Indra, I will create Vritra. Let the worlds behold what power I possess,
and how mighty is the practice of austerities! Let that inhuman,
wicked-minded lord of the gods also witness the same!” And saying this,
that enraged one, famous for his austerities, washed his mouth with
water, made offerings on the fire, created the terrible Vritra, and spoke
to him, saying, “O destined slayer of Indra, grow in might even from the
strength of my austere rites.” And that Asura grew in might, towering
towards the firmament, and resembling the son of fire. And he asked,
“Risen like the doomsday sun, what am I to do?” “Kill Indra,” was the
reply. And then he departed towards the celestial regions. And next
ensued a great fight between Vritra and Indra, both fired with wrath. And
there took place a terrible combat, O best of Kuru’s race. And the heroic
Vritra seized the celestial lord who had performed a hundred sacrifices.
And filled with wrath, he whirled Indra and threw him into his mouth. And
when Indra was swallowed up by Vritra, the terrified senior gods,
possessed of great might, created Jrimbhika to kill Vritra. And as Vritra
yawned and his mouth opened the slayer of the Asura, Vala contracted the
different parts of his body, and came out from within Vritra’s mouth. And
thenceforth the yawn attaches itself to the living breath of animated
beings in three worlds. And the gods rejoiced at the egress of Indra. And
once again commenced the terrible fight between Vritra and Indra, both
full of ire. And it was waged for a long while, O best of Bharata’s race.
And when Vritra, inspired with the mighty spirit of Twashtri and himself
endowed with strength, got the upper hand in fight, Indra turned back. And
on his retreat, the gods became exceedingly distressed. And all of them
together with Indra were overpowered by the might of Twashtri. And they
all consulted with the saints, O descendant of Bharata. And they
deliberated as to what was proper to be done, and were overwhelmed with
dread. And seated on the top of the Mandara mountain, and bent on killing
Vritra, they only bethought themselves of Vishnu, the indestructible one.’”


“‘Indra said, “This whole indestructible universe, O gods, hath been
pervaded by Vritra. There is nothing that can be equal to the task of
opposing him. I was capable of yore, but now I am incapable. What good
betide you, can I do? I believe him to be unapproachable. Powerful and
magnanimous, possessing immeasurable strength in fight, he would be able
to swallow up all the three worlds with the gods, the Asuras, and the
men. Therefore, hear ye dwellers of heaven, this is my resolution.
Proceeding to the abode of Vishnu, in company with that high-souled Being
must we consult, and ascertain the means of slaying this ruthless wretch.”’

“Salya continued, ‘Indra having thus spoken, the gods with that host of
Rishis repaired to the mighty god Vishnu to place themselves under
the protection of that protector of all. And afflicted with the dread of
Vritra, they said unto the Supreme Lord of the deities, “Thou hadst in
former times covered the three worlds with three steps. Thou hadst
procured the ambrosial food, O Vishnu, and destroyed the Asuras in
battle. Thou didst bind the great Asura Vali and hadst raised Indra to
the throne of heaven. Thou art the lord of the gods, and this entire
universe is pervaded by thee. Thou art the God, the mighty Deity, saluted
by all persons. Be thou the refuge of all the celestials together with
Indra, O best of gods. The whole universe, O slayer of Asuras, hath been
pervaded by Vritra.” And Vishnu said, “I am no doubt bound to do what is
for your good. I shall, therefore, tell you of a contrivance whereby he
may be annihilated. Do ye with the Rishis and the Gandharvas repair to
the place where Vritra that bearer of a universal form is and adopt
towards him a conciliatory policy. You will thus succeed in overthrowing
him. By virtue of my power, victory, ye gods, will be won by Indra, for,
remaining invisible, I shall enter into his thunderbolt, that best of
weapons. O foremost of gods, depart ye with the Rishis and the
Gandharvas. Let there be no delay in effecting a peace between Indra and

“Salya continued, ‘When he had thus spoken, the Rishis and the celestials
placed Indra at their head, and uniting together, went away. Approaching
Indra they beheld Vritra glowing and resplendent as if scorching the ten
points, and swallowing all the three worlds, and resembling the sun or
the moon. And then the Rishis, came up to Vritra and spoke to him in
conciliatory terms, saying, “O thou unconquerable being, the whole of
this universe hath been pervaded by thy energy. Thou art not able however
to overpower Indra, O best of mighty beings. A long period hath now
elapsed since you began to fight. All beings, with the gods and the
Asuras and men, are suffering from the effects of the fight. Let there be
eternal friendship between thee and Indra. Thou shalt be happy and shall
dwell eternally in Indra’s regions.” And the mighty Vritra having heard
the words of the saints, bowed his head unto them. And the Asura (thus)
spoke, “What you, O highly-gifted beings, and also all these Gandharvas
are saying, I have heard. Ye stainless beings, hear also what I have got
to say. How can there be peace between us two, Indra and myself? How can
there be friendship, ye gods, between two hostile powers?” The Rishis
said, “Friendship among righteous persons happens at a single meeting. It
is a desirable object. Thereafter will happen what is fated to be. The
opportunity of forming friendship with a righteous person should not be
sacrificed. Therefore, the friendship of the righteous should be sought.
The friendship of the righteous is (like) excellent wealth, for he that
is wise would give advice when it is needed. The friendship of a good
person is of great use; therefore, a wise person should not desire to
kill a righteous one. Indra is honoured by the righteous, and is the
refuge of magnanimous persons, being veracious and unblamable, and knows
what virtue is, and is possessed of a refined judgment. Let there be
eternal friendship between thee and Indra, as described above. In this
way, have faith (in him); let not thy heart be differently inclined.”’

“Salya said, ‘Hearing these words of the great Rishis, the illustrious
Asura spoke to them, “No doubt, the Rishis, endued with supernatural
powers, are to be respected by me. Let what I am going to say, ye gods,
be performed in its entirety; then I shall do everything that (these)
best of Brahmanas have said to me. Ye lords of the Brahmana race, ordain
so that Indra himself or the gods do not kill me by what is dry, or wet;
by stone, or by wood; by a weapon fit for close fight, or by a missile;
in the day time, or at night. On those terms eternal peace with Indra
would be acceptable to me,”--Very good! was what the Rishis told him, O
best of Bharata race. Thus peace having been concluded, Vritra was very
much pleased. And Indra also became pleased though constantly occupied
with the thought of killing Vritra. And the chief of the deities passed
his time in search of a loophole, uneasy (in mind). And on a certain day
when it was evening and the hour awful, Indra caught sight of the mighty
Asura on the coast of the sea. And he bethought himself of the boon that
was granted to the illustrious Asura, saying, “This is the awful evening
time; it is neither day, nor night; and this Vritra, my enemy, who hath
stripped me of my all, must undoubtedly be killed by me. If I do not kill
Vritra, this great and mighty Asura of gigantic frame, even by deceit, it
will not go well with me.” And as Indra thought of all this, bearing
Vishnu in mind he beheld at that instant in the sea a mass of froth as
large as a hill. And he said, “This is neither dry, nor wet, nor is it a
weapon; let me hurl it at Vritra. Without doubt, he will die
immediately.” And he threw at Vritra that mass of froth blended with the
thunderbolt. And Vishnu, having entered within that froth, put an end to
the life of Vritra. And when Vritra was killed, the cardinal points were
free from gloom; and there also blew a pleasant breeze; and all beings
were much pleased. And the deities with the Gandharvas and Yakshas and
Rakshasas, with the great snakes and saints, glorified the mighty Indra
with various laudatory hymns. And saluted by all beings, Indra spoke
words of encouragement to all. And his heart was glad as also that of
everyone of the gods for having killed the foe. And knowing the nature of
virtue, he worshipped Vishnu, the most praiseworthy of all objects in the
world. Now when the mighty Vritra, terrible to the gods, was killed,
Indra became overpowered by falsehood, and he became exceedingly sad; and
he was also overpowered by the sin of Brahmanicide on account of having
killed the three-headed son of Twashtri. And he betook himself to the
confines of the worlds, and became bereft of his senses and
consciousness. And overpowered by his own sins, he could not be
recognised. And he lay concealed in water, just like a writhing snake.
And when the lord of celestials, oppressed with the dread of
Brahmanicide, had vanished from sight, the earth looked as if a havoc had
passed over it. And it became treeless, and its woods withered; and the
course of rivers was interrupted; and the reservoirs lost all their
water; and there was distress among animals on account of cessation of
rains. And the deities and all the great Rishis were in exceeding fear;
and the world had no king, and was overtaken by disasters. Then the
deities and the divine saints in heaven, separated from the chief of the
gods, became terrified, and wondered who was to be their king. And nobody
had any inclination to act as the king of the gods.’”


“Salya said, ‘Then all the Rishis and the superior gods said, “Let the
handsome Nahusha be crowned as king of the gods. He is powerful and
renowned, and devoted to virtue ever more.” And they all went and said to
him, “O lord of the earth, be thou our king.” And Nahusha intent on his
welfare, spoke to those gods and saints accompanied by the progenitors
(of mankind), “I am feeble; I am not capable of protecting you; it is a
powerful person who should be your king; it is Indra who hath always been
possessed of strength.” And all the gods, led by the saints, spoke again
to him, “Aided by the virtue of our austerities, rule thou the kingdom of
heaven. There is no doubt that we have all our respective fears. Be
crowned, O lord of monarchs, as the king of heaven. Whatever being may
stand within thy sight, whether he be a god, an Asura, a Yaksha, a saint,
a Pitri, or a Gandharva, thou shalt absorb his power and (thereby) wax
strong. Always placing virtue before (all other things), be thou the
ruler of the worlds. Protect also the Brahmarsis (Brahmana saints) and
the gods in heaven.” Then, O lord of monarchs, Nahusha was crowned king
in heaven. And placing virtue before (everything else), he became the
ruler of all the worlds. And though always of a virtuous disposition, yet
when he obtained that precious boon and the kingdom of heaven, Nahusha
assumed a sensual turn of mind. And when Nahusha became the king of the
gods, he surrounded himself with celestial nymphs, and with damsels of
celestial birth, and took to enjoyments of various kinds, in the Nandana
groves, on mount Kailasa, on the crest of Himavat, on Mandara, the White
hill Sahya, Mahendra and Malaya, as, also upon seas and rivers. And he
listened to various divine narratives that captivated both the ear and
the heart, and to the play of musical instruments of different sorts, and
to sweet vocal strains. And Viswavasu and Narada and bevies of celestial
nymphs and bands of Gandharvas and the six seasons in living shapes,
attended upon the king of the gods. And fragrant breezes, refreshingly
cool, blew round him. And while that wretch was thus enjoying himself, on
one occasion the goddess who was the favourite queen of Indra came in his
sight. And that vicious soul, having looked at her, said to the
courtiers, “Why doth not this goddess, the queen of Indra, attend upon
me? I am the monarch of the gods, and also the ruler of the worlds. Let
Sachi make haste and visit me at my house.” Saddened at hearing this, the
goddess said to Vrihaspati, “Protect me, O Brahmana, from this Nahusha. I
come to you as my refuge. You always say, O Brahmana, that I have got on
my person all the auspicious marks, being the favourite of the divine
king; that I am chaste, devoted to my lord, and destined never to become
a widow. All this about me you have said before. Let your words be made
true. O possessor of great powers, O lord, you never spoke words that
were vain. Therefore, O best of Brahmanas, this that you have said ought
to be true.” Then Vrihaspati said to the queen of Indra who was beside
herself through fear, “What thou hast been told by me will come to be
true, be sure, O goddess. Thou shalt see Indra, the lord of the gods, who
will soon come back here. I tell thee truly, thou hast no fear from
Nahusha; I shall soon unite thee with Indra.” Now Nahusha came to hear
that Indra’s queen had taken refuge with Vrihaspati, the son of Angiras.
And at this, the king became highly enraged.’”


“Salya said, ‘Seeing Nahusha enraged, the gods led by the saints spoke
unto him, “Who was now their king of awful mien? O king of gods, quit thy
wrath. When thou art in wrath, O lord, the Universe, with its Asuras and
Gandharvas, its Kinnaras, and great snakes, quaketh. Quit this wrath,
thou righteous being. Persons like thee do not put themselves out. That
goddess is another person’s wife. Be pacified, O lord of gods! Turn back
thy inclination from the sin of outraging another’s wife. Thou art the
king of gods, prosperity to thee! Protect thy subjects in all
righteousness.” So addressed, he heeded not the saying rendered senseless
by lust. And the king spoke to the gods, in allusion to Indra, “Ahalya of
spotless fame, the wife of a saint, was outraged by Indra while her
husband was alive. Why did ye not prevent him? Many were the deeds of
inhumanity, of unrighteousness, of deceit, committed by Indra in former
times. Why did ye not prevent him? Let the goddess do my pleasure; that
would be her permanent good. And so the same will ever more rebound to
your safety, ye gods!”

“‘The gods said, “We shall bring to thee the queen of Indra even as thou
hast laid the command, O lord of heaven! Quit this wrath, thou valiant
soul! Be pacified, O lord of gods!”’

“Salya continued, ‘Thus having spoken to him, the gods with the saint
went to inform Vrihaspati and the queen of Indra of the sad news. And
they said, “We know, O foremost of Brahmanas, that the queen of Indra
hath betaken herself to thy house, for protection, and that thou hast
promised her protection, O best of divine saints! But we, the gods and
Gandharvas and saints, beseech thee, O thou of great lustre, to give up
the queen of Indra to Nahusha. Nahusha, the king of gods, of great
effulgence, is superior to Indra. Let her, that lady of choice figure and
complexion, choose him as her lord!” Thus addressed, the goddess gave
vent to tears; and sobbing audibly, she mourned in piteous accents. And
she spoke to Vrihaspati, “O best of divine saints, I do not desire
Nahusha to be my lord. I have betaken myself to thy protection, O
Brahmana! Deliver me from this great peril!”

“‘Vrihaspati said, “My resolution is this, I shall not abandon one that
hath sought my protection. O thou of unblamable life, I shall not abandon
thee, virtuous as thou art and of a truthful disposition! I do not desire
to do an improper act, specially as I am a Brahmana knowing what
righteousness is, having a regard for truth, and aware also of the
precepts of virtue. I shall never do it. Go your ways, ye best of gods.
Hear what hath formerly been sung by Brahma with regard to the matter at
hand. He that delivereth up to a foe of a person terrified and asking for
protection obtaineth no protection when he himself is in need of it. His
seed doth not grow at seed-time and rain doth not come to him in the
season of rains. He that delivereth up to a foe a person terrified and
asking for protection never succeedeth in anything that he undertaketh;
senseless as he is, he droppeth paralysed from heaven; the gods refuse
offerings made by him. His progeny die an untimely death and his
forefathers always quarrel (among themselves). The gods with Indra and
their head dart the thunderbolt at him. Know it to be so, I shall not
deliver up this Sachi here, the queen of Indra, famous in the world as
his favourite consort. O ye best of gods, what may be for both her good
and mine I ask you to do. Sachi I shall never deliver up!”’

“Salya continued, ‘Then the gods and the Gandharvas said these words to
the preceptor of the gods, “O Vrihaspati, deliberate upon something that
may be conformable to sound policy!” Vrihaspati said, “Let this goddess
of auspicious looks ask for time from Nahusha in order to make up her
mind to his proposal. This will be for the good of Indra’s queen, and of
us as well. Time, ye gods, may give rise to many impediments. Time will
send time onward. Nahusha is proud and powerful by virtue of the boon
granted to him!”’

“Salya continued, ‘Vrihaspati having spoken so, the gods, delighted then
said, “Well hast thou said, O Brahmana. This is for the good of all the
gods. It is no doubt so. Only, let this goddess be propitiated.” Then the
assembled gods led by Agni, with a view to the welfare of all the worlds,
spoke to Indra’s queen in a quiet way. And the gods said, “Thou art
supporting the whole universe of things mobile and immobile. Thou art
chaste and true: go thou to Nahusha. That vicious being, lustful after
thee, will shortly fall: and Indra, O goddess, will get the sovereignty
of the gods!” Ascertaining this to be the result of that deliberation,
Indra’s queen, for attaining her end, went bashfully to Nahusha of awful
mien. The vicious Nahusha also, rendered senseless by lust, saw how
youthful and lovely she was, and became highly pleased.’”


“Salya said, ‘Now then Nahusha, the king of the gods, looked at her and
said, “O thou of sweet smiles, I am the Indra of all the three worlds. O
thou of beautiful thighs and fair complexion, accept me as thy lord!”
 That chaste goddess, thus addressed by Nahusha, was terrified and quaked
like a plantain-stalk at a breezy spot. She bowed her head to Brahma, and
joining her hands spoke to Nahusha, the king of the gods, of awful mien,
said, “O lord of the deities, I desire to obtain time. It is not known
what hath become of Indra, or where he is. Having enquired into the truth
regarding him, if, O lord, I obtain no news of him, then I shall visit
thee; this tell I thee for truth.” Thus addressed by Indra’s queen,
Nahusha was pleased. And Nahusha said, “Let it be so, O lady of lovely
hips, even as thou art telling me. Thou wilt come, after having
ascertained the news. I hope thou wilt remember thy plighted truth.”
 Dismissed by Nahusha, she of auspicious looks stepped out; and that
famous lady went to the abode of Vrihaspati. And, O best of kings, the
gods with Agni at their head, when they heard her words, deliberated,
intent upon what would promote the interests of Indra. And they then
joined the powerful Vishnu, the God of gods. And skilled in making
speeches, the uneasy gods spoke the following words to him, “Indra, the
lord of all the gods, hath been overpowered by the sin of Brahmanicide.
Thou, O lord of the gods, art the first-born, the ruler of the universe,
and our refuge. Thou hadst assumed the form of Vishnu for the protection
of all beings. When Vritra was killed through thy energy, Indra was
overwhelmed by the sin of Brahmanicide. O best of all the gods, prescribe
the means of setting him free.” Having heard these words of the gods,
Vishnu said, “Let Indra offer sacrifice to me. Even I shall purify the
holder of the thunderbolt. The chastiser of Paka, having performed the
holy horse-sacrifice, will fearlessly regain his dignity as lord of the
gods. And the wicked-minded Nahusha will be led to destruction by his
evil deeds. For a certain period, ye gods, ye must be patient, being
vigilant at the same time.” Having heard these words of Vishnu, words
that were true, and pleasant like ambrosia to their ears, the gods, with
their preceptor, and with the Rishis proceeded to that spot where Indra
was uneasy with fear. And there, O king, was performed a great
horse-sacrifice, capable of removing the sin of Brahmanicide, for the
purification of the high-minded and great Indra. And the lord of the
gods, O Yudhishthira, divided the sin of Brahmanicide among trees and
rivers and mountains and the earth and women. And having distributed it
thus among those beings and parted with it, Indra was free from fever.
And rid of his sin, he came to himself. And at that place, the slayer of
the Asura Vala, quaked when he looked at Nahusha, before whom all
animated beings felt cowed, and who was unapproachable by virtue of the
boon the Rishis had granted to him. And the divine husband of Sachi
vanished from sight once again. And invisible to all beings, he wandered
biding his time. And Indra having disappeared, Sachi fell into grief. And
exceedingly miserable, she bewailed, “Alas! O Indra, if ever I have made
a gift, or made offering to the gods, or have propitiated my spiritual
guides, if there is any truth in me, then I pray that my chastity may
remain inviolate. I bow myself to this goddess Night,--holy, pure,
running her course during this the northern journey of the sun,[1] let my
desire be fulfilled.” Saying this, she, in a purified condition of body
and soul, worshipped the goddess Night. And in the name of her chastity
and truth she had recourse to divination.[2] And she asked, “Show me the
place where the king of the gods is. Let truth be verified by truth.” And
it was thus that she addressed the goddess of Divination.’”


“Salya said, ‘Then the goddess of Divination stood near that chaste and
beautiful lady. And having beheld that goddess, youthful and lovely,
standing before her, Indra’s queen, glad at heart, paid respects to them
and said, “I desire to know who thou art, O thou of lovely face.” And
Divination said, “I am Divination, O goddess, come near thee. Since thou
art truthful, therefore, O high-minded lady, do I appear in thy sight.
Since thou art devoted to thy lord, employed in controlling thyself, and
engaged in the practice of religious rites, I shall show thee the god
Indra, the slayer of Vritra. Quickly come after me, so may good betide
thee! Thou shalt see that best of gods.” Then Divination proceeded and
the divine queen of Indra went after her. And she crossed the heavenly
groves, and many mountains; and then having crossed the Himavat
mountains, she came to its northern side. And having reached the sea,
extending over many yojanas, she came upon a large island covered with
various trees and plants. And there she saw a beautiful lake, of heavenly
appearance, covered with birds, eight hundred miles in length, and as
many in breadth. And upon it, O descendant of Bharata, were full-blown
lotuses of heavenly appearance, of five colours, hummed round by bees,
and counting by thousands. And in the middle of that lake, there was a
large and beautiful assemblage of lotuses having in its midst a large
white lotus standing on a lofty stalk. And penetrating into the
lotus-stalk, along with Sachi, she saw Indra there who had entered into
its fibres. And seeing her lord lying there in a minute form, Sachi also
assumed a minute form, so did the goddess of divination too. And Indra’s
queen began to glorify him by reciting his celebrated deeds of yore. And
thus glorified, the divine Purandara spoke to Sachi, “For what purpose
hast thou come? How also have I been found out?” Then the goddess spoke
of the acts of Nahusha. And she said, “O performer of a hundred
sacrifices, having obtained the sovereignty of the three worlds, powerful
and haughty and of a vicious soul, he hath commanded me to visit him, and
the cruel wretch hath even assigned me a definite time. If thou wilt not
protect me, O lord, he will bring me under his power. For this reason, O
Indra, have I come to thee in alarm. O thou of powerful arms, slay the
terrible Nahusha of vicious soul. Discover thyself, O slayer of Daityas
and Danavas. O lord, assume thy own strength and rule the celestial


“Salya said, ‘Thus addressed by Sachi, the illustrious god said to her
again, “This is not the time for putting forth valour. Nahusha is
stronger than I am. O beautiful lady, he hath been strengthened by the
Rishis with the merits of offerings to the gods and the Pitris. I shall
have recourse to policy now. Thou wilt have to carry it out, O goddess. O
lady, thou must do it secretly and must not disclose it to any person. O
lady of a beautiful waist, going to Nahusha in private, tell him, O lord
of the Universe, thou must visit me mounted on a nice vehicle borne by
Rishis. In that case I shall be pleased and shall place myself at thy
disposal. This shouldst thou tell him.” And thus addressed by the king of
the gods, his lotus-eyed consort expressed her consent and went to
Nahusha. And Nahusha, having seen her, smilingly addressed her, saying,
“I welcome thee, O lady of lovely thighs. What is thy pleasure, O thou of
sweet smiles. Accept me, O lady of propitious looks, who am devoted to
thee. What is thy will, O spirited dame. I shall do thy wish, O lady of
propitious looks and slender waist. Nor needst thou be bashful, O thou of
lovely hips. Have trust in me. In the name of truth I swear, O goddess,
that I shall do thy bidding.”

“‘Sachi said, “O lord of the Universe, I wanted the time that thou hast
assigned to me. Thereafter, O lord of the gods, thou shalt be my husband.
I have a wish. Attend and hear, O king of the gods, what it is I shall
say, O king, so that thou mayst do what I like. This is an indulgence
that I ask from thy love for me. If thou grantest it, I shall be at thy
disposal. Indra had horses for carrying him, and elephants, and cars. I
want thee to have, O king of the gods, a novel vehicle, such as never
belonged to Vishnu, or Rudra, or the Asuras, or the Rakshasas, O lord.
Let a number of highly dignified Rishis, united together, bear thee in a
palanquin. This is what commends itself to me. Thou shouldst not liken
thyself to the Asuras or the gods. Thou absorbest the strength of all by
thy own strength as soon as they look at thee. There is none so strong as
to be able to stand before thee.”’

“Salya continued, ‘Thus addressed, Nahusha was very much pleased. And the
lord of the deities said to that lady of faultless features, “O lady of
the fairest complexion, thou hast spoken of a vehicle never heard of
before. I like it exceedingly, O goddess. I am in thy power, O thou of
lovely face. He cannot be a feeble person who employeth Rishis for
bearing him. I have practised austerities, and am mighty. I am the lord
of the past, the present, and the future. The Universe would be no more
if I were in rage. The whole Universe is established in me. O thou of
sweet smiles, the gods, the Asuras and Gandharvas, and snakes, and
Rakshasas are together unable to cope with me when I am in rage.
Whomsoever I gaze upon I divest him of his energy. Therefore, thy request
I shall no doubt fulfil, O goddess. The seven Rishis, and also the
regenerate Rishis, shall carry me. See our greatness and splendour, O
lady of lovely complexion.”’

“Salya continued, ‘Having thus addressed that goddess of lovely face, and
having dismissed her thus, he harnessed to his heavenly car a number of
saints devoted to the practice of austerities. A disregarder of
Brahmanas, endued with power and intoxicated with pride, capricious, and
of vicious soul, he employed those saints to carry him. Meanwhile,
dismissed by Nahusha, Sachi went to Vrihaspati and said, “But little
remaineth of the term assigned by Nahusha to me. Be compassionate unto
me who respect thee so, and quickly find out Indra.”

“‘The illustrious Vrihaspati then said to her, “Very good, thou needst
not, O goddess, fear, Nahusha of vicious soul. Surely, he shall not long
retain his power. The wretch, in fact, is already gone, being regardless
of virtue and because, O lovely dame, of his employing the great saints
to carry him. And I shall perform a sacrifice for the destruction of this
vicious wretch, and I shall find out Indra. Thou needst not fear. Fare
thee well.” And Vrihaspati of great power then kindled a fire in the
prescribed form, and put the very best offerings upon it in order to
ascertain where the king of the gods was. And having put his offerings, O
king, he said to the Fire, “Search out Indra.” And thereupon that
revered god, the eater of burnt offerings, assumed of his own accord a
wonderful feminine form and vanished from sight at that very spot. And
endued with speed of the mind, he searched everywhere, mountains and
forests, earth and sky, and came back to Vrihaspati within the twinkling
of the eye. And Agni said, “Vrihaspati, nowhere in these places do I find
the king of the gods. The waters alone remain to be searched. I am always
backward in entering the waters. I have no ingress therein. O Brahmana,
what I am to do for thee.” The preceptor of the gods then said to him, “O
illustrious god, do thou enter the water.”

“‘Agni said, “I cannot enter the water. Therein it is extinction that
awaits me. I place myself in thy hand, O thou of great effulgence. Mayst
thou fare well! Fire rose from water, the military caste rose from the
priestly caste; and iron had its origin in stone. The power of these
which can penetrate all other things, hath no operation upon the sources
from which they spring.”’”


“‘Vrihaspati said, “Thou art the mouth, O Agni, of all the gods. Thou art
the carrier of sacred offerings. Thou, like a witness, hast access to the
inner souls of all creatures. The poets call thee single, and again
three-fold. O eater of burnt offerings, abandoned by thee the Universe
would forthwith cease to be. The Brahmanas by bowing to thee, win with
their wives and sons an eternal region, the reward of their own
meritorious deeds. O Agni, it is thou who art the bearer of sacred
offerings. Thou, O Agni, art thyself the best offering. In a sacrificial
ceremony of the supreme order, it is thee that they worship with
incessant gifts and offerings. O bearer of offerings, having created the
three worlds, thou when the hour cometh, consumeth them in thy unkindled
form. Thou art the mother of the whole Universe; and thou again, O Agni,
art its termination. The wise call thee identical with the clouds and
with the lightning; flames issuing from thee, support all creatures. All
the waters are deposited in thee; so is this entire world. To thee, O
purifier, nothing is unknown in the three worlds. Every body taketh
kindly to his progenitor; do thou enter the waters without fear. I shall
render thee strong with the eternal hymns of the Veda.” Thus glorified,
the bearer of burnt offerings, that best of poets, well-pleased, spoke
laudable words to Vrihaspati. And he said, “I shall show Indra to thee.
This I tell thee for truth.”’

“Salya continued, ‘Then Agni entered the waters including seas and tiny
ponds, and came to that reservoir, where, O best of Bharata’s race, while
searching the lotus flowers, he saw the king of the gods lying within the
fibres of a lotus-stalk. And soon coming back, he informed Vrihaspati how
Indra had taken refuge in the fibres of a lotus-stalk, assuming a minute
form. Then Vrihaspati, accompanied by the gods, the saints and the
Gandharvas, went and glorified the slayer of Vala by referring to his
former deeds. And he said, “O Indra, the great Asura Namuchi was killed
by thee; and those two Asuras also of terrible strength, viz., Samvara
and Vala. Wax strong, O performer of a hundred sacrifices, and slay all
thy foes. Rise, O Indra! Behold, here are assembled the gods and the
saints. O Indra, O great lord, by slaying Asuras, thou hast delivered the
worlds. Having got the froth of waters, strengthened with Vishnu’s
energy, thou formerly slew Vritra. Thou art the refuge of all creatures
and art adorable. There is no being equal to thee. All the creatures, O
Indra, are supported by thee. Thou didst build the greatness of the gods.
Deliver all, together with the worlds by assuming thy strength, O great
Indra.” And thus glorified, Indra increased little by little; and having
assumed his own form, he waxed strong and spoke to the preceptor
Vrihaspati standing before. And he said, “What business of yours yet
remaineth; the great Asuras, son of Twashtri, hath been killed; and
Vritra also, whose form was exceedingly big and who destroyed the worlds.”

“‘Vrihaspati said, “The human Nahusha, a king, having, obtained the throne
of heaven by virtue of the power of the divine saints, is giving us
exceeding trouble.”

“‘Indra said, “How hath Nahusha obtained the throne of heaven, difficult
to get? What austerities did he practise? How great is his power, O

“‘Vrihaspati said, “The gods having been frightened, wished for a king of
heaven, for thou hadst given up the high dignity of heaven’s ruler. Then
the gods, the Pitris of the universe, the saints, and the principal
Gandharvas, all met together, O Indra, and went to Nahusha and said, ‘Be
thou our king, and the defender of the Universe!’ To them said Nahusha,
‘I am not able; fill me with your power and with the virtue of your
austerities!’ So told, the deities strengthened him, O king of the gods!
And thereupon Nahusha became a person of terrible strength, and becoming
thus the ruler of the three worlds, he hath put the great saints in
harness, and the wretch is thus journeying from world to world. Mayst
thou never see Nahusha who is terrible. He emitteth poison from his eyes,
and absorbeth the energy of all. All the gods are exceedingly frightened;
they go about concealed and do not cast a glance at him!”’

“Salya continued, ‘While that best of Angira’s race was thus speaking,
there came that guardian of the world, Kuvera, and also Yama the son of
Surya, and the old god Soma, and Varuna. And arrived there they said to
the great Indra, “How lucky that the son of Twashtri hath been killed,
and Vritra also! How lucky, O Indra, that we are beholding thee safe and
sound, while all thy enemies have been killed!” Indra received all those
guardians of the worlds, and with a glad heart greeted them in proper
form with a view to requesting them in connection with Nahusha. And he
said, “Nahusha of terrible mien is the king of the gods; therein lend me
your assistance.” They replied, “Nahusha is of awful mien; his sight is
poison; we are afraid of him, O God. If thou overthrowest Nahusha, then
we shall be entitled to our shares of sacrificial offerings, O Indra.”
 Indra said, “Let it be so. You and the ruler of the waters, and Yama, and
Kuvera shall this day be crowned along with me. Aided by all the gods,
let us overthrow the foe Nahusha of terrible gaze.” Then Agni also said
to Indra, “Give me a share in sacrificial offerings. I also shall lend
you my assistance.” Indra said to him, “O Agni, thou also shalt get a
share in great sacrifices,--there will be a single share (in such) for
both Indra and Agni.”’

“Salya continued, ‘Thus did the illustrious lord Indra, the chastiser of
Paka, the giver of boons, bestow, after deliberation upon Kuvera the
sovereignty over the Yakshas, and all the wealth of the world; upon Yama,
the sovereignty over the Pitris; and upon Varuna, that over the waters.’”


“Salya said, ‘Now when the great Indra, the intelligent chief of the
gods, was deliberating with the guardians of the world and other deities
upon the means of slaying Nahusha, there appeared at that spot the
venerable ascetic Agastya. And Agastya honoured the lord of the gods and
said, “How fortunate that thou art flourishing after the destruction of
that being of universal form, as also that of Vritra. And how fortunate,
O Purandara, Nahusha hath been hurled from the throne of heaven. How
fortunate, O slayer of Vala, that I behold thee with all thy enemies

“‘Indra said, “Hath thy journey hither been pleasant, O great saint, I am
delighted to see thee. Accept from me water for washing thy feet and
face, as also the Arghya and the cow.”’

“Salya continued, ‘Indra, well-pleased, began to question that best of
saints and greatest of Brahmanas when he was seated on a seat after
receiving due honours, thus, O revered saint, O best of Brahmanas, I wish
to have it recited by thee how Nahusha of vicious soul was hurled from

“‘Agastya said, “Listen, O Indra, to the pleasant narrative how the wicked
and vicious Nahusha, intoxicated with pride of strength, had been hurled
from heaven. The pure-spirited Brahmanas and celestial saints, while
carrying him, weary with toil, questioned that vicious one, O best of
victors, saying, ‘O Indra, there are certain hymns in the Vedas, directed
to be recited while sprinkling the cows. Are they authentic or not?’
Nahusha, who had lost his senses by the operation of the Tamas, told them
that they were not authentic. The saints then said, ‘Thou art tending
towards unrighteousness; thou takest not to the righteous path. The
greatest saints have formerly said they are authentic, O Indra.’ And
incited by Untruth, he touched me on my head with his foot. At this, O
lord of Sachi, he became divested of power and of good looks. Then, as he
was agitated and overpowered with fear, I spoke to him, ‘Since thou hast
pronounced as spurious the unexceptionable hymns of the Veda which have
been recited by Brahmarsis (Brahmana saints), and since thou hast touched
my head with thy foot, and since thou, O ignorant wretch, hast turned
these unapproachable saints, equal to Brahma, into animals for carrying
thee, therefore, O wretch, be divested of thy lustre, and being hurled
headlong, fall thou from heaven, the effect of all thy good deeds being
exhausted. For ten thousand years, thou shalt, in the form of an enormous
snake, roam over the earth. When that period is full, thou mayst come
back to heaven. Thus hath that wretch been hurled from the throne of
heaven, O repressor of foes.’ How fortunate, O Indra, that we are
flourishing now. That thorn of the Brahmanas hath been killed. O lord of
Sachi, repair thou to heaven, protect the worlds, subdue thy senses,
subdue thy foes, and be glorified by the great saints.”’

“Salya continued, ‘Then, O ruler of men, the gods, and the bands of great
saints were exceedingly pleased. And so also were the Pitris, the
Yakshas, the Snakes, the Rakshasas, the Gandharvas, and all the bands of
celestial nymphs. And the tanks, the rivers, the mountains, and the seas
also were highly pleased. And all came up and said, “How fortunate, O
slayer of foes, that thou art flourishing! How fortunate, that the
intelligent Agastya hath killed the vicious Nahusha! How fortunate that
the vile individual hath been turned into a snake to roam over the


“Salya said, ‘Then Indra, glorified by the bands of Gandharvas and
celestial nymphs, mounted on Airavata, the king of elephants,
characterised by auspicious marks. And the illustrious Agni, and the
great saint Vrihaspati, and Yama, and Varuna, and Kuvera, the lord of
riches, accompanied him. And the lord Sakra, the slayer of Vritra, then
went to the three worlds surrounded by the gods together with the
Gandharvas and the celestial nymphs. And the performer of a hundred
sacrifices, the king of the deities, was thus united with his queen. And
he began to protect the worlds with exceeding gladness. Then the
illustrious divine saint Angiras arrived in the assembly of Indra and
worshipped him duly by reciting the hymns of the Atharva. And the great
lord Indra became satisfied and granted a boon to the Atharvangiras. And
Indra said, “Thou wilt be known as a Rishi of the name Atharvangiras in
the Atharva Veda, and thou wilt also get a share in sacrifices.” And
having honoured Atharvangiras thus, the great lord Indra, the performer
of a hundred sacrifices, parted with him, O great king. And he honoured
all the deities and all the saints endued with wealth of asceticism. And,
O king, Indra, well-pleased, governed the people virtuously. Thus was
misery endured by Indra with his wife. And with the view of slaying his
foes, even he had to pass a period in concealment. Thou shouldst not take
it to heart that thou, O king of kings, hast suffered with Draupadi as
also with thy high-minded brothers in the great forest. O king of kings,
O descendant of Bharata, O delighter of Kuru’s race, thou wilt get back
thy kingdom in the same way as Indra got his, after having killed Vritra.
The vicious Nahusha, that enemy of Brahmanas, of evil mind, was
overthrown by the curse of Agastya, and reduced to nothing for endless
years. Similarly, O slayer of foes, thy enemies, Karna and Duryodhana and
others of vicious souls will quickly be destroyed. Then, O hero, thou
wilt enjoy the whole of this earth, as far as the sea, with thy brothers
and this Draupadi. This story of the victory of Indra, equal to the Veda
in its sacred character, should be listened to by a king desirous of
victory and when his forces have been arrayed in order of battle.
Therefore, O best of victors, I am reciting it to thee for thy victory, O
Yudhishthira. High-souled persons attain prosperity when they are
glorified. O Yudhishthira, the destruction of high-souled Kshatriyas is
at hand by reason of the crimes of Duryodhana, and through the might also
of Bhima and Arjuna. He who readeth this story of Indra’s victory with a
heart full of religious faith, is cleansed of his sins, attaineth a
region of bliss, and obtaineth joy both in this world and in the next. He
hath no fear of his foes; he never becometh a sonless man, never
encountereth any peril whatever, and enjoyeth long life. Everywhere
victory declareth for him, and he knoweth not what defeat is.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “O best of Bharata’s race, the king, that best
of righteous men, thus encouraged by Salya, honoured him in proper form.
And Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, of powerful arms, having heard the
words of Salya, spoke to the king of the Madras the following words,
‘There is no doubt that thou wilt act as the charioteer of Karna. Thou
must damp the spirits of Karna then by recounting the praises of Arjuna.’

“Salya said, ‘Let it be so. I shall do just as thou tellest me. And I
shall do for thee anything else that I may be able to do.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then Salya, the king of the Madras, bade
farewell to the sons of Kunti. And that handsome man then went with his
army to Duryodhana, O repressor of foes.”


Vaisampayana said, “Then Yuyudhana, the great hero of the Satwata race,
came to Yudhishthira with a large army of foot, and horses and cars and
elephants. And his soldiers of great valour come from various lands, bore
various weapons of war, and heroic in look they beautified the Pandava
army. And that army looked splendid by reason of battleaxes, and missiles
and spears, and lances, and mallets, and clubs, and staves, and cords,
and stainless swords, and daggers, and arrows of various kinds, all of
the best temper. And the army, beautified by those weapons, and
resembling in colour the cloudy sky, assumed an appearance like to amass
of clouds with lightning-flashes in its midst. And the army counted an
Akshauhini of troops. And when absorbed in the troops of Yudhishthira it
entirely disappeared, as doth a small river when it enters the sea. And
similarly, the powerful chief of the Chedis, Dhrishtaketu, accompanied by
an Akshauhini, came to the sons of Pandu of immeasurable strength. And
the king of Magadha, Jayatsena of great strength, brought with him for
Yudhishthira an Akshauhini of troops. And similarly, Pandya, who dwelt on
the coast-land near the sea, came accompanied by troops of various kinds
to Yudhishthira, the king of kings. And, O king, when all these troops
had assembled, his army, finely dressed and exceedingly strong, assumed
an appearance pleasant to the eye. And the army of Drupada, also was
beautified by valiant soldiers who had come from various lands, and also
by his mighty sons. And similarly, Virata, the king of the Matsyas, a
leader of troops, accompanied by the king of the hilly regions, came to
Pandu’s sons. And for the high-souled sons of Pandu there were thus
assembled from various directions, seven Akshauhini of troops, bristling
with banners of various forms. And eager to fight with the Kurus, they
gladdened the hearts of the Pandavas. And in the same way king
Bhagadatta, gladdening the heart of Dhritarashtra’s son, gave an
Akshauhini of troops to him. And the unassailable mass of his troops,
crowded with Chins and Kiratas, all looking like figures of gold, assumed
a beauty like to that of a forest of Karnikara trees. And so the valiant
Bhurisravas, and Salya, O son of Kuru, came to Duryodhana, with an
Akshauhini of troops each. And Kritavarman, the son of Hridika,
accompanied by the Bhojas, the Andhas, and the Kukuras, came to
Duryodhana with an Akshauhini of troops. And the body of his troops
composed of those mighty soldiers, who wore on their persons garlands of
many-coloured flowers, looked as graceful as a number of sportive
elephants that have passed through a wood. And others led by Jayadratha,
the dwellers of the land of Sindhusauvira, came in such force that the
hills seemed to tremble under their tread. And their force, counting an
Akshauhini, looked like a mass of clouds moved by the wind. And
Sudakshina, the king of the Kamvojas, O ruler of men, accompanied by the
Yavanas and Sakas, came to the Kuru chief with an Akshauhini of troops.
And the body of his troops that looked like a flight of locusts, meeting
with the Kuru force, was absorbed and disappeared in it. And similarly
came king Nila, the resident of the city of the Mahishmati, with mighty
soldiers from the southern country who carried weapons of pretty make.
And the two kings of Avanti, accompanied by a mighty force, brought to
Duryodhana, each a separate Akshauhini of troops. And those tigers among
men, the five royal brothers, the princes of Kekaya, hastened to
Duryodhana with an Akshauhini of troops, and gladdened his heart. And
from the illustrious king of other quarters there came, O best of
Bharata’s race, three large divisions of troops. And thus Duryodhana had
a force which numbered eleven Akshauhinis all eager to fight with the
sons of Kunti, and bristling with banners of various forms. And, O
descendant of Bharata, there was no space in the city of Hastinapura even
for the principal leaders of Duryodhana’s army. And for this reason the
land of the five rivers, and the whole of the region called Kurujangala,
and the forest of Rohitaka which was uniformly wild, and Ahichatra and
Kalakuta, and the banks of the Ganga, and Varana, and Vatadhana, and the
hill tracts on the border of the Yamuna--the whole of this extensive
tract--full of abundant corn and wealth, was entirely overspread with the
army of the Kauravas. And that army, so arranged, was beheld by the
priest who had been sent by the king of the Panchalas to the Kurus.”


Vaisampayana said, “Then Drupada’s priest, having approached the Kaurava
chief, was honoured by Dhritarashtra as also by Bhishma and Vidura. And
having first told the news of the welfare of the Pandavas, he enquired
about the welfare of the Kauravas. And he spoke the following words in
the midst of all the leaders of Duryodhana’s army, ‘The eternal duties of
kings are known to you all. But though known, I shall yet recite them as
an introduction to what I am going to say. Both Dhritarashtra and Pandu
are known to be sons of the same father. There is no doubt that the share
of each to the paternal wealth should be equal. The sons of Dhritarashtra
obtained the paternal wealth. Why did not the sons of Pandu at all
receive their paternal portion? Ye are aware how formerly the sons of
Pandu did not receive their paternal property which was all usurped by
Dhritarashtra’s sons. The latter endeavoured in various ways to remove
the sons of Pandu from their path by employment even of murderous
contrivances; but as their destined terms of life had not wholly run out,
the sons of Pandu could not be sent to the abode of Yama. Then again,
when those high-souled princes had carved out a kingdom by their own
strength, the mean-minded sons of Dhritarashtra, aided by Suvala’s son,
robbed them of it by deceit. This Dhritarashtra gave his sanction even to
that act as hath been usual with him. And for thirteen years they were
then sent to sojourn in the great wilderness. In the council-hall, they
had also been subjected to indignities of various kinds, along with their
wife, valiant though they were. And great also were the sufferings that
they had to endure in the woods. Those virtuous princes had also to
endure unspeakable woes in the city of Virata,--such as are endured only
by vicious men when their souls transmigrate into the forms of inferior
beings. Ye best of Kuru’s race, overlooking all these injuries of yore
they desire nothing but a peaceful settlement with the Kurus! Remembering
their behaviour, and that of Duryodhana also, the latter’s friends should
entreat him to consent to peace! The heroic sons of Pandu are not eager
for war with the Kurus. They desire to get back their own share without
involving the world in ruin. If Dhritarashtra’s son assigns a reason in
favour of war, that can never be a proper reason. The sons of Pandu are
more powerful. Seven Akshauhinis of troops have been collected on behalf
of Yudhishthira, all eager to fight with the Kurus, and they are now
awaiting his word of command. Others there are tigers among men, equal in
might to a thousand Akshauhinis, such as Satyaki and Bhimasena, and the
twin brothers of mighty strength. It is true that these eleven divisions
of troops are arrayed on one side, but these are balanced on the other by
the mighty-armed Dhananjaya of manifold form. And as Kiritin exceeds in
strength even all these troops together, so also doth Vasudeva’s son of
great effulgence and powerful intellect. Who is there that would fight,
in view of the magnitude of the opposing force, the valour of Arjuna, and
the wisdom of Krishna? Therefore, I ask you to give back what should be
given, as dictated by morality and compact. Do not let the opportunity


Vaisampayana said, “Having heard his words, Bhishma, senior in wisdom,
and endued with great effulgence, paid honours to him, and then spoke
words suitable to the occasion. And he said, ‘How fortunate that they are
all well, with Krishna! How fortunate that they have procured aid, and
that they are inclined to a virtuous course! How fortunate that those
scions of Kuru’s race desire peace with their cousins! There is no doubt
that what thou hast said is true. Thy words, however, are exceedingly
sharp,--the reason, I suppose, being that thou art a Brahmana. No doubt,
the sons of Pandu were much harassed both here and in the woods. No doubt,
by law they are entitled to get all the property of their father. Arjuna,
the son of Pritha, is strong trained in weapons, and is a great
car-warrior. Who, in sooth, can withstand in battle Dhananjaya the son of
Pandu. Even the wielder himself of the thunderbolt cannot,--other bowmen
are hardly worth mention. My belief is that he is a match for all the
three worlds!’ And while Bhishma was thus speaking, Karna wrathfully and
insolently interrupted his words, and looking at Duryodhana said, ‘There
is no creature in the world, O Brahmana, who is not informed of all these
facts. What is the good of repeating them again and again? On behalf of
Duryodhana, Sakuni formerly won in game of dice. Yudhishthira, the son of
Pandu went to the woods according to a stipulation. He is now paying no
regard to that stipulation, but confident of aid from the Matsyas and
Panchalas, he wisheth to get back his ancestral throne. O learned man,
Duryodhana would not yield even a single foot of land if thou appealest
to his fears, but if justice requires, he would give up the whole earth
even to a foe. If they wish to get back their ancestral throne, they
should pass the specified period of time in the forest as had been
stipulated. Afterwards let them live as the dependants of Duryodhana,
safe and sound. From dull-headedness, however, let them not turn their
mind towards an absolutely unrighteous course. If, nevertheless,
abandoning the path of virtue, they desire war, then when they encounter
in battle these praise-worthy Kurus, they will remember these my words.’

“Bhishma said, ‘What is the use of thy talking, O Radha’s son? Thou
shouldst remember that occasion when Pritha’s son, single-handed,
over-powered in battle six car-warriors. If we do not act as this
Brahmana hath said, to be sure, we shall be all slain by him in battle!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then Dhritarashtra pacified Bhishma with words
of entreaty, rebuked the son of Radha, and spoke the following words,
‘What Bhishma, Santanu’s son, hath said is salutary for us, as also for
the Pandavas, and likewise for the whole universe. I shall, however,
after deliberation, send Sanjaya to the sons of Pandu. So thou needst not
wait. Go thou to the son of Pandu this very day.’ The Kaurava chief then
honoured Drupada’s priest and sent him back to the Pandavas. And
summoning Sanjaya to the council-hall, he addressed him in the following


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘They say, O Sanjaya, that the Pandavas have arrived
at Upaplavya. Go thou and enquire after them. Thou must greet Ajatasatru
in the following words, “By good luck it is that (emerged from the woods)
thou hast reached such a city.” And to all of them thou must say, O
Sanjaya, these words. “Are ye well, having spent that harassing period of
sojourn, ye who were unworthy of such harassment?” In no time will they
be appeased towards us, for though treated treacherously (by foes), yet
they are righteous and good. In no case, O Sanjaya, have I ever met with
any untruthfulness on the part of the Pandavas. It was by their own
valour that they had won all their prosperity, and (yet) they were ever
dutiful to me. Though I scrutinized their conduct, I could never find
fault with them,--no, not even a single fault for which we might blame
them. They always act mindful of virtue and wealth; they never give way
to love of sensual enjoyments, or cold, or hunger, or thirst; they subdue
sleep and laziness and wrath and joy and heedlessness. The sons of
Pritha, mindful of both virtue and wealth, are ever pleasant to all. On
proper occasions they part with their wealth to friends. Friendship with
them never loses its ardour on account of length of time; for they bestow
honours and wealth on every one according to his deserts. Not a soul in
the race of Ajamida ever entertains hatred for them excepting this vile,
capricious, dull-headed Duryodhana, and excepting also the still more
mean-minded Karna. These two always enhance the energy of those
high-souled ones who have been divested of both friends and happiness.
Enterprising and brought up in every indulgence, Duryodhana reckons all
that to be well-done. It is childish on Duryodhana’s part to think that
it is possible to rob the Pandavas of their just share so long as they
are alive. It is wise to yield to Yudhishthira his due share before the
war,--to him whose steps are followed by Arjuna and Krishna and Bhima and
Satyaki and the two sons of Madri and the warriors of the Srinjaya race.
That wielder of the Gandiva, Savyasachin, seated on his car, would alone
be able to devastate the whole world. And likewise the victorious and
high-souled Krishna, the lord of the three worlds, incapable of defeat is
able to do the same. What mortal would stand before him who is the one
worthiest person in all the worlds and who discharges his multitude of
arrows that roar like the clouds, covering all sides, like flights of
swiftly-coursing locusts? Alone on his car, holding the Gandiva, he had
conquered the northern regions as also the Kurus of the north and brought
away with him all their wealth. He converted the people of the Dravida
land to be a portion of his own army. It was Falguna, the wielder of the
Gandiva, who defeating in the Khandava woods all the gods together with
Indra, made offerings to Agni, enhancing the honour and fame of the
Pandavas. Of all wielders again of the mace, there is none equal to
Bhima; and there is none also who is so skilful a rider of elephants. On
car, they say, he yields not to even Arjuna; and as to might of arms, he
is equal to ten thousand elephants. Well-trained and active, he who hath
again been rendered bitterly hostile, would in anger consume the
Dhartarashtras in no time. Always wrathful, and strong of arms, he is not
capable of being subdued in battle by even Indra himself. Of great heart,
and strong, and endued with great lightness of hand, the two (twin)
brothers, sons of Madri, carefully trained by Arjuna, would leave not a
foe alive, like to a pair of hawks preying upon large flocks of birds.
This our army, so full, to tell thee the truth, will be nowhere when it
will encounter them. In their side will be Dhrishtadyumna, endued with
great activity,--one who is regarded as one of the Pandavas themselves.
The chief of the Somaka tribe, with his followers, is, I have heard, so
devoted to the cause of the Pandavas that he is ready to lay down his
very life for them. Who would be able to withstand Yudhishthira who hath
the best of the Vrishni tribe (Krishna) for his leader? I have heard that
Virata, the chief of the Matsyas, with whom the Pandavas had lived for
some time and whose wishes were fulfilled by them, old in years, is
devoted, along with his sons to the Pandava cause, and hath become an
adherent of Yudhishthira. Deposed from the throne of the Kekaya land, and
desirous of being reinstated thereon, the five mighty brothers from that
land, wielding mighty bows, are now following the sons of Pritha ready to
fight. All who are valiant among the lords of the earth have been brought
together and are devoted to the Pandava cause. I hear that they are bold,
worthy, and respectful,--they who have allied themselves to the virtuous
king Yudhishthira from feelings of attachment to him. And many warriors
dwelling on the hills and inaccessible fastnesses, and many that are high
in lineage and old in years, and many Mleccha tribes also wielding
weapons of various kinds, have been assembled together and are devoted to
the cause of the Pandavas. And there hath come Pandya also, who, hardly
inferior to Indra on the field of battle, is followed when he fights by
numberless warriors of great courage. Remarkably heroic and endued with
prowess and energy that have no parallel, he is devoted to the Pandava
cause. That same Satyaki who, I have heard, obtained weapons from Drona
and Arjuna and Krishna and Kripa and Bhishma, and who is said to be equal
to the son of Krishna, is devotedly attached to the Pandava cause. And
the assembled kings of the Chedi and the Karusha tribes have all taken
the part of the Pandavas with all their resources. That one in their
midst, who, having been endued with blazing beauty, shone like the sun,
whom all persons deemed unassailable in battle and the very best of all
drawers of the bow on earth, was slain by Krishna in a trice, by help of
his own great might, and counting for naught the bold spirit of all the
Kshatriya kings. Kesava cast his eyes on that Sishupala and smote him,
enhancing the fame and honour of the sons of Pandu. It was the same
Sishupala who was highly honoured by those kings at whose head stood the
king of the Karusha tribe. Then the other kings, deeming Krishna
unassailable when seated on his car drawn by Sugriva and other steeds,
left the chief of the Chedis and ran away like small animals at the sight
of a lion. And it was thus that he, who, from audacity had sought to
oppose and encounter Krishna in a combat hand to hand, was slain by
Krishna and lay down lifeless, resembling a Karnikara tree uprooted by a
gale. O Sanjaya, O son of Gavalgana, what they have told me of the
activity of Krishna in cause of Pandu’s sons, and what I remember of his
past achievements, leave me no peace of mind. No foe whatsoever is
capable of withstanding them, who are under the lead of that lion of the
Vrishni tribe. My heart is trembling with fear upon learning that the two
Krishnas are seated on the selfsame car. If my dull-headed son forbear
to fight with those two, then may he fare well,--else those two will
consume the race of Kuru as Indra and Upendra consume the Daitya hosts.
Dhananjaya is, I conceive, equal to Indra, and the greatest of the
Vrishni race, Krishna, is the Eternal Vishnu himself. The son of Kunti
and Pandu, Yudhishthira, is virtuous and brave and eschews deeds that
bring on shame. Endued with great energy, he hath been wronged by
Duryodhana. If he were not high-minded, he would in wrath burn the
Dhritarashtras. I do not so much dread Arjuna or Bhima or Krishna or the
twin brothers as I dread the wrath of the king, O Suta, when his wrath is
excited. His austerities are great; he is devoted to Brahmacharya
practices. His heart’s wishes will certainly be fulfilled. When I think
of his wrath, O Sanjaya, and consider how just it is, I am filled with
alarm. Go thou speedily on a car, despatched by me, where the troops of
the king of the Panchalas are encamped. Thou wilt ask Yudhishthira about
his welfare. Thou wilt repeatedly address him in affectionate terms. Thou
wilt also meet Krishna, O child, who is the chief of all brave men and
who is endued with a magnanimous soul. Him also thou wilt ask on my part
as to his welfare, and tell him that Dhritarashtra is desirous of peace
with Pandu’s sons. O Suta, there is nothing that Yudhishthira, the son of
Kunti, would not do at the bidding of Krishna. Kesava is as dear to them
as their own selves. Possessed of great learning, he is ever devoted to
their cause. Thou wilt also enquire about the welfare of all the
assembled sons of Pandu and the Srinjayas and Satyaki and Virata and all
the five sons of Draupadi, professing to be a messenger from me. And
whatsoever also thou mayst deem to be opportune, and beneficial for the
Bharata race, all that, O Sanjaya, thou must say in the midst of those
kings,--everything, in sooth, that may not be unpalatable or provocative
of war.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Having heard these words of king Dhritarashtra
Sanjaya went to Upaplavya to see the Pandavas of immeasurable strength.
And having approached king Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, he made
obeisance to him first and then spoke. And the son of Gavalgana, by name
Sanjaya and by caste a Suta, cheerfully spoke unto Ajatasatru, ‘How
lucky, O king, that I see you hale, attended by friends and little
inferior to the great Indra. The aged and wise king Dhritarashtra, the
son of Ambika, hath enquired about your welfare. I hope Bhimasena is
well, and that Dhananjaya, that foremost of the Pandavas, and these two
sons of Madri, are well. I hope princess Krishna also, the daughter of
Drupada, is well,--she who never swerves from the path of truth, that
lady of great energy, that wife of heroes. I hope she is well with her
sons,--she in whom are centred all your dearest joys and whose welfare
you constantly pray for.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O Sanjaya, the son of Gavalgana, hath thy journey
here been safe? We are pleased with thy sight. I ask thee in return how
thou art. I am, O learned man, in excellent health with my younger
brothers. O Suta, after a long while do I now receive news of the aged
king of the Kurus, that descendant of Bharata. Having seen thee, O
Sanjaya, I feel as if I have seen the king himself, so pleased I am! Is
our aged grandsire Bhishma, the descendant of Kuru, endued with great
energy and the highest wisdom and always devoted to the practices of his
own order, O sire, in health? I hope he still retains all his former
habits. I hope the high-souled king Dhritarashtra, the son of
Vichitravirya, is in health with his sons. I hope the great king Vahlika,
the son of Pratipa, endued with great learning, is also in health. I
hope, O sire, that Somadatta is in health, and Bhurisravas, and
Satyasandha, and Sala, and Drona with his son, and the Brahmana Kripa are
also well. I hope all those mighty bowmen are free from disease. O
Sanjaya, all those greatest and best of bowmen, endued with the highest
intelligence and versed in letters, and occupying the very top of those
who wield weapons, have attached themselves to the Kurus. I hope those
bowmen receive their honours due. I hope they are free from disease. How
happy are they in whose kingdom dwells the mighty and handsome bowman,
the well-behaved son of Drona! I hope Yuyutsu, the highly intelligent son
of Dhritarashtra by his Vaisya wife is in health. I hope, O sire, the
adviser Karna, whose counsels are followed by the dull-headed Suyodhana,
is in health. I hope, the aged ladies, the mothers of the Bharata race,
and the kitchen-maidens, the bond-maids, the daughters-in-law, the boys,
the sister’s sons, and the sisters, and the daughters’ sons of
Dhritarashtra’s house are all free from trouble. O sire, I hope the king
still allows their former subsistence to the Brahmanas. I hope, O
Sanjaya, Dhritarashtra’s son hath not seized those gifts to the Brahmanas
that I made. I hope Dhritarashtra with his sons meets in a spirit of
forbearance any over-bearing conduct on the part of the Brahmanas. I hope
he never neglects to make provision for them, that being the sole highway
to heaven. For this is the excellent and clear light that hath been
provided by the Creator in this world of living beings. If like
dull-headed persons, the sons of Kuru do not treat the Brahmanas in a
forbearing spirit, wholesale destruction will overtake them. I hope king
Dhritarashtra and his son try to provide for the functionaries of state.
I hope there are no enemies for theirs, who, disguised as friends, are
conspiring for their ruin. O sire, I hope none of these Kurus talk of our
having committed any crimes. I hope Drona and his son and the heroic
Kripa do not talk of our having been guilty in any way. I hope all the
Kurus look up to king Dhritarashtra and his sons as the protectors of
their tribe. I hope when they see a horde of robbers, they remember the
deeds of Arjuna, the leader in all fields of battle. I hope they remember
the arrows shot from the Gandiva, which course through the air in a
straight path, impelled onwards by the stretched bow-string in contact
with the fingers of his hand, and making a noise loud as that of the
thunder. I have not seen the warrior that excels or even rivals Arjuna
who can shoot by a single effort of his hand sixty-one whetted and
keen-edged shafts furnished with excellent feathers. Do they remember
Bhima also, who, endued with great activity causeth hostile hosts arrayed
in battle to tremble in dread, like an elephant with rent temples
agitating a forest of reeds? Do they remember the mighty Sahadeva, the
son of Madri, who in Dantakura conquered the Kalingas, shooting arrows by
both the left and right hand? Do they remember Nakula, who, O Sanjaya,
was sent, under your eye, to conquer the Sivis and the Trigartas, and who
brought the western region under my power? Do they remember the disgrace
that was theirs when under evil counsels they came to the woods of
Dwaitavana on pretence of taking away their cattle? Those wicked ones
having been over-powered by their enemies were afterwards liberated by
Bhimasena and Arjuna, myself protecting the rear of Arjuna (in the fight
that ensued) and Bhima protecting the rear of the sons of Madri, and the
wielder of the Gandiva coming out unharmed from the press of battle
having made a great slaughter of the hostile host,--do they remember
that? It is not by a single good deed, O Sanjaya, that happiness can here
be attained, when by all our endeavours we are unable to win over the son
of Dhritarashtra!’”


“Sanjaya said, ‘It is even so as thou hast said, O son of Pandu! Dost
thou enquire about the welfare of the Kurus and of the foremost ones
among them? Free from illness of every kind and in the possession of
excellent spirit are those foremost ones among the Kurus about whom, O
son of Pritha, thou enquirest. Know, O son of Pandu, that there are
certainly righteous and aged men, as also men that are sinful and wicked
about Dhritarashtra’s son. Dhritarashtra’s son would make gifts even to
his enemies; it is not likely, therefore, that he should withdraw the
donations made to the Brahmanas. It is customary with you, Kshatriyas, to
follow a rule fit for butchers, that leads you to do harm to those that
bear no ill-will to you; but the practice is not good. Dhritarashtra with
his sons would be guilty of the sin of intestine dissension, were he,
like a bad man, to bear ill-will towards you who are righteous. He does
not approve of this injury (done to you); he is exceedingly sorry for it;
he grieves at his heart--the old man--O Yudhishthira,--for, having
communicated with the Brahmanas, he hath learnt that provoking intestine
dissensions is the greatest of all sins. O king of men, they remember thy
prowess on the field, and that of Arjuna, who taketh the lead in the
field of battle. They remember Bhima wielding his mace when the sound of
the conch-shell and the drum rises to the highest pitch. They remember
those mighty car-warriors, the two sons of Madri, who on the field of
battle career in all directions, shooting incessant showers of shafts on
hostile hosts, and who know not what it is to tremble in fight. I
believe, O king, that which Futurity hath in store for a particular
person cannot be known, since thou, O son of Pandu, who art endowed with
all the virtues, hast had to suffer trouble of such unendurable kind. All
this, no doubt, O Yudhishthira, thou wilt again make up by help of your
intelligence. The sons of Pandu, all equal to Indra would never abandon
virtue for the sake of pleasure. Thou, O Yudhishthira, wilt so make up
thy intelligence that they all, viz., the sons of Dhritarashtra and Pandu
and the Srinjayas, and all the kings who have been assembled here, will
attain peace. O Yudhishthira, hear what thy sire Dhritarashtra having
consulted with his ministers and sons, hath spoken to me. Be attentive to
the same.’”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Here are met the Pandavas and the Srinjayas, and
Krishna, and Yuyudhana and Virata, O son of the Suta Gavalgana, tell us
all that Dhritarashtra hath directed thee to say.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘I greet Yudhishthira, and Vrikodara and Dhananjaya, and
the two sons of Madri, and Vasudeva the descendant of Sura, and Satyaki,
and the aged ruler of the Panchalas, and Dhrishtadyumna, the son of
Prishata. Let all listen to the words I say from a desire for the welfare
of the Kurus. King Dhritarashtra, eagerly welcoming the chance of peace,
hastened the preparation of my car for this journey here. Let it be
acceptable to king Yudhishthira with his brothers and sons and relations.
Let the son of Pandu prefer peace. The sons of Pritha are endowed with
every virtue with steadiness and mildness and candour. Born in a high
family, they are humane, liberal, and loath to do any act which would
bring on shame. They know what is proper to be done. A base deed is not
befitting you, for you are so high-minded, and have such a terrible
following of troops. If you committed a sinful act, it would be a blot on
your fair name, as a drop of collyrium on a white cloth. Who could
knowingly be ever guilty of an act, which would result in universal
slaughter, which would be sinful and lead to hell,--an act consisting in
the destruction (of men), an act the result of which, whether it be
victory or defeat, is of the self-same value? Blessed are they that have
served their relative’s cause. They are the true sons and friends and
relatives (of Kuru’s race) who would lay down life, life which is liable
to be abused by misdeeds, in order to ensure the welfare of the Kurus. If
you, ye sons of Pritha, chastise the Kurus, by defeating and slaying all
your foes,--that subsequent life of yours would be equivalent to death,
for what, in sooth, is life after having killed all your kinsfolk? Who,
even if he were Indra himself with all the gods on his side, would be
able to defeat you who are aided by Kesava and Chekitanas, and Satyaki,
and are protected by Dhrishtadyumna’s arms? Who again, O king, can defeat
in battle the Kurus who are protected by Drona and Bhishma, and
Aswatthaman, and Salya, and Kripa and Karna with a host of Kshatriya
kings? Who, without loss to himself, is able to slay the vast force
assembled by Dhritarashtra’s son? Therefore it is, that I do not see any
good either in victory or in defeat. How can the sons of Pritha, like
base persons of low lineage, commit an act of unrighteousness? Therefore,
I appease, I prostrate myself before Krishna and the aged king of the
Panchalas. I betake myself to you as my refuge, with joined hands, so
that both the Kurus and the Srinjayas may be benefited. It is not likely
that either Krishna or Dhananjaya will not act up to these my words.
Either of them would lay down his life, if besought (to do so).
Therefore, I say this for the success of my mission. This is the desire
of the king and his counsellor Bhishma, that there may be confirmed peace
between you (and the Kurus).’”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘What words from me, O Sanjaya, hast thou heard,
indicative of war, that thou apprehendest war? O sire, peace is
preferable to war. Who, O charioteer, having got the other alternative
would wish to fight? It is known to me, O Sanjaya, that if a man can have
every wish of his heart without having to do anything, he would hardly
like to do anything even though it might be of the least troublesome
kind, far less would he engage in war. Why should a man ever go to war?
Who is so cursed by the gods that he would select war? The sons of
Pritha, no doubt, desire their own happiness but their conduct is ever
marked by righteousness and conducive to the good of the world. They
desire only that happiness which results from righteousness. He that
fondly followeth the lead of his senses, and is desirous of obtaining
happiness and avoiding misery, betaketh himself to action which in its
essence is nothing but misery. He that hankers after pleasure causeth his
body to suffer; one free from such hankering knoweth not what misery is.
As an enkindled fire, if more fuel be put upon it, blazeth forth again
with augmented force, so desire is never satiated with the acquisition of
its object but gaineth force like unkindled fire when clarified butter is
poured upon it. Compare all this abundant fund of enjoyment which king
Dhritarashtra hath with what we possess. He that is unfortunate never
winneth victories. He that is unfortunate enjoyeth not the voice of
music. He that is unfortunate doth not enjoy garlands and scents, nor can
one that is unfortunate enjoy cool and fragrant unguents, and finally he
that is unfortunate weareth not fine clothes. If this were not so, we
would never have been driven from the Kurus. Although, however, all this
is true, yet none cherished torments of the heart. The king being himself
in trouble seeketh protection in the might of others. This is not wise.
Let him, however, receive from others the same behaviour that he displays
towards them. The man who casteth a burning fire at midday in the season
of spring in a forest of dense underwood, hath certainly, when that fire
blazeth forth by aid of the wind, to grieve for his lot if he wisheth to
escape. O Sanjaya, why doth king Dhritarashtra now bewail, although he
hath all this prosperity? It is because he had followed at first the
counsels of his wicked son of vicious soul, addicted to crooked ways and
confirmed in folly. Duryodhana disregarded the words of Vidura, the best
of his well-wishers, as if the latter were hostile to him. King
Dhritarashtra, desirous solely of satisfying his sons, would knowingly
enter upon an unrighteous course. Indeed, on account of his fondness for
his son, he would not pay heed to Vidura, who, out of all the Kurus, is
the wisest and best of all his well-wishers, possessing vast learning,
clever in speech, and righteous in act. King Dhritarashtra is desirous of
satisfying his son, who, while himself seeking honours from others, is
envious and wrathful, who transgresses the rules for the acquisition of
virtue and wealth, whose tongue is foul, who always follows the dictates
of his wrath, whose soul is absorbed in sensual pleasures, and who, full
of unfriendly feelings to many, obeys no law, and whose life is evil,
heart implacable, and understanding vicious. For such a son as this, king
Dhritarashtra knowingly abandoned virtue and pleasure. Even then, O
Sanjaya, when I was engaged in that game of dice I thought that the
destruction of the Kurus was at hand, for when speaking those wise and
excellent words Vidura obtained no praise from Dhritarashtra. Then, O
charioteer, did trouble overtake the Kurus when they disregarded the
words of Vidura. So long as they had placed themselves under the lead of
his wisdom, their kingdom was in a flourishing state. Hear from me, O
charioteer, who are the counsellors now of the covetous Duryodhana. They
are Dussasana, and Sakuni the son of Suvala, and Karna the Suta’s son! O
son of Gavalgana, look at this folly of his! So I do not see, though I
think about it, how there can be prosperity for the Kurus and the
Srinjayas when Dhritarashtra hath taken the throne from others, and the
far seeing Vidura hath been banished elsewhere. Dhritarashtra with his
sons is now looking for an extensive and undisputed sovereignty over the
whole world. Absolute peace is, therefore, unattainable. He regardeth
what he hath already got to be his own. When Arjuna taketh up his weapon
in fight, Karna believeth him capable of being withstood. Formerly there
took place many great battles. Why could not Karna then be of any avail
to them. It is known to Karna and Drona and the grandsire Bhishma, as
also to many other Kurus, that there is no wielder of the bow, comparable
to Arjuna. It is known to all the assembled rulers of the earth, how the
sovereignty was obtained by Duryodhana although that repressor of foes,
Arjuna, was alive. Pertinaciously doth Dhritarashtra’s son believe that
it is possible to rob the sons of Pandu of what is their own, although he
knoweth having himself gone to the place of fight, how Arjuna comforted
himself when he had nothing but a bow four cubits long for his weapon of
battle. Dhritarashtra’s sons are alive simply because they have not as
yet heard that twang of the stretched Gandiva. Duryodhana believeth his
object already gained, as long as he beholdeth not the wrathful Bhima. O
sire, even Indra would forbear to rob us of our sovereignty as long as
Bhima and Arjuna and the heroic Nakula and the patient Sahadeva are
alive! O charioteer, the old king with his son still entertains the
notion that his sons will not be perished, O Sanjaya, on the field of
battle, consumed by the fiery wrath of Pandu’s sons. Thou knowest, O
Sanjaya, what misery we have suffered! For my respect to thee, I would
forgive them all. Thou knowest what transpired between ourselves and
those sons of Kuru. Thou knowest how we comforted ourselves towards
Dhritarashtra’s son. Let the same state of things still continue. I shall
seek peace, as thou counsellest me to do. Let me have Indraprastha for my
kingdom, Let this be given to me by Duryodhana, the chief of Bharata’s


“Sanjaya said, ‘O Pandava, the world hath heard thy conduct being
righteous. I see it also to be so, O son of Pritha. Life is transient,
that may end in great infamy; considering this, thou shouldst not perish.
O Ajatasatru, if without war, the Kurus will not yield thy share, I
think, it is far better for thee to live upon alms in the kingdom of the
Andhakas and the Vrishnis than obtain sovereignty by war. Since this
mortal existence is for only a short period, and greatly liable to blame,
subject to constant suffering, and unstable, and since it is never
comparable to a good name, therefore, O Pandava, never perpetrate a sin.
It is the desires, O ruler of men, which adhere to mortal men and are an
obstruction to a virtuous life. Therefore, a wise man should beforehand
kill them all and thereby gain a stainless fame in the world, O son of
Pritha. The thirst after wealth is but like fetter in this world; the
virtue of those that seek it is sure to suffer. He is wise who seeketh
virtue alone; desires being increased, a man must suffer in his temporal
concerns, O sire. Placing virtue before all other concerns of life, a man
shineth like the sun when its splendour is great. A man devoid of virtue,
and of vicious soul, is overtaken by ruin, although he may obtain the
whole of this earth. Thou hast studied the Vedas, lived the life of a
saintly Brahman, hast performed sacrificial rites, made charities to
Brahmanas. Even remembering the highest position (attainable by beings),
thou hast also devoted thy soul for years and years to the pursuit of
pleasure. He who, devoting himself excessively to the pleasures and joys
of life, never employeth himself in the practice of religious meditation,
must be exceedingly miserable. His joys forsake him after his wealth is
gone and his strong instincts goad him on towards his wonted pursuit of
pleasure. Similarly, he who, never having lived a continent life,
forsaketh the path of virtue and commiteth sin, hath no faith in
existence of a world to come. Dull as he is after death he hath torment
(for his lot). In the world to come, whether one’s deeds be good or evil
these deeds are in no case, annihilated. Deeds, good and evil, precede
the agent (in his journey to the world to come); the agent is sure to
follow in their path. Your work (in this life) is celebrated by all as
comparable to that food, savoury and dainty, which is proper to be
offered with reverence to the Brahmanas--the food which is offered in
religious ceremonies with large donations (to the officiating priests).
All acts are done, so long as this body lasts, O son of Pritha. After
death there is nothing to be done. And thou hast done mighty deeds that
will do good to thee in the world to come, and they are admired by
righteous men. There (in the next world) one is free from death and
decrepitude and fear, and from hunger and thirst, and from all that is
disagreeable to the mind; there is nothing to be done in that place,
unless it be to delight one’s senses. Of this kind, O ruler of men, is
the result of our deeds. Therefore, do not from desire act any longer in
this world. Do not, O Pandu’s son, betake to action in this world and
thereby thus take leave of truth and sobriety and candour and humanity.
Thou mayst perform the Rajasuya and the Aswamedha sacrifices, but do not
even come near an action which in itself is sin! If after such a length
of time, ye sons of Pritha, you now give way to hate, and commit the
sinful deed, in vain, for virtue’s sake, did ye dwell for years and years
in the woods in such misery! It was in vain that you went to exile, after
parting with all your army; for this army was entirely in your control
then. And these persons who are now assisting you, have been always
obedient to you,--this Krishna, and Satyaki, and Virata of the golden
car, of Matsya land, with his son at the head of martial warriors. All
the kings, formerly vanquished by you would have espoused your cause at
first. Possessed of mighty resources, dreaded by all, having an army, and
followed behind by Krishna and Arjuna, you might have slain your foremost
of foes on the field of battle. You might have (then) brought low
Duryodhana’s pride. O Pandava, why have you allowed your foes to grow so
powerful? Why have you weakened your friends? Why have you sojourned in
the woods for years and years? Why are you now desirous of fighting,
having let the proper opportunity slip? An unwise or an unrighteous man
may win prosperity by means of fighting; but a wise and a righteous man,
were he free from pride to betake to fight (against better instinct),
doth only fall away from a prosperous path. O Pritha’s son, your
understanding inclines not to an unrighteous course. From wrath you ever
committed a sinful act. Then what is the cause, and what is the reason,
for which you are now intent to do this deed, against the dictates of
wisdom? Wrath, O mighty king, is a bitter drug, though it has nothing to
do with disease; it brings on a disease of the head, robs one of his fair
fame, and leads to sinful acts. It is drunk up (controlled) by those that
are righteous and not by those that are unrighteous. I ask you to swallow
it and to desist from war. Who would incline himself to wrath which leads
to sin? Forbearance would be more beneficial to you than love of
enjoyments where Bhishma would be slain, and Drona with his son, and
Kripa, and Somadatta’s son, and Vikarna and Vivinsati, and Karna and
Duryodhana. Having slain all these, what bliss may that be, O Pritha’s
son, which you will get? Tell me that! Even having won the entire
sea-girt earth, you will never be free from decrepitude and death,
pleasure and pain, bliss and misery. Knowing all this, do not be engaged
in war. If you are desirous of taking this course, because your
counsellors desire the same, then give up (everything) to them, and run
away. You should not fall away from this path which leads to the region
of the gods!’”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Without doubt, O Sanjaya, it is true that righteous
deeds are the foremost of all our acts, as thou sayest. Thou shouldst,
however, ensure me having first ascertained whether it is virtue or vice
that I practise. When vice assumes the aspects of virtue and virtue
itself wholly seems as vice, and virtue, again, appears in its native
form, they that are learned should discriminate it by means of their
reason. So, again, virtue and vice, which are both eternal and absolute,
exchange their aspects during seasons of distress. One should follow
without deviation the duties prescribed for the order to which he belongs
by birth. Know, O Sanjaya, that duties in seasons of distress are
otherwise. When his means of living are totally gone, the man, that is
destitute should certainly desire those other means by which he may be
able to discharge the sanctioned duties of his order. One that is not
destitute of his means of living, as also one that is in distress, are, O
Sanjaya, both to be blamed, if they act as if the state of each were
otherwise. When the Creator hath ordained expiation for those Brahmanas,
who, without wishing for self-destruction, betake themselves to acts not
sanctioned for them, this proves that people may, in season of distress,
betake to acts not ordained for the orders to which they belong. And, O
Sanjaya, thou shouldst regard them as worthy that adhere to the practices
of their own order in usual times as also those that do not adhere to
them in season of distress; thou shouldst censure them that act otherwise
in usual times while adhering to their ordained practices during times of
distress. As regards men desiring to bring their minds under control,
when they endeavour to acquire a knowledge of self, the practices that
are ordained for the best, viz., the Brahmanas, are equally ordained for
them. As regards those, however, that are not Brahmanas and that do not
endeavour to acquire knowledge of self, those practices should be
followed by them that are ordained for their respective orders in seasons
of distress or otherwise. Even that is the path followed by our fathers
and grandfathers before us and those also that had lived before them. As
regards those that are desirous of knowledge and avoiding to act, even
these also hold the same view and regard themselves as orthodox. I do
not, therefore, think that there is any other path. Whatsoever wealth
there may be in this earth, whatsoever there may be among the gods, or
whatsoever there may be unattainable by them,--the region of the
Prajapati, or heaven or the region of Brahma himself, I would not, O
Sanjaya, seek it by unrighteous means. Here is Krishna, the giver of
virtue’s fruits, who is clever, politic, intelligent, who has waited upon
the Brahmanas, who knows everything and counsels various mighty kings.
Let the celebrated Krishna say whether I would be censurable if I dismiss
all idea of peace, of whether if I fight, I should be abandoning the
duties of my caste, for Krishna seeketh the welfare of both sides. This
Satyaki, these Chedis, the Andhakas, the Vrishnis, the Bhojas, the
Kukuras, the Srinjayas, adopting the counsels of Krishna, slay their foes
and delight their friends. The Vrishnis and the Andhakas, at whose head
stands Ugrasena, led by Krishna, have become like Indra, high-spirited,
devoted to truth, mighty, and happy. Vabhru, the king of Kasi, having
obtained Krishna, that fructifier of wishes, as his brother, and upon
whom Krishna showers all the blessings of life, as the clouds upon all
earthly creatures, when the hot season is over, hath attained the highest
prosperity, O sire, so great is this Krishna! Him you must know as the
great judge of the propriety or otherwise of all acts. Krishna is dear to
us, and is the most illustrious of men. I never disregard what Krishna


“Krishna said, ‘I desire, O Sanjaya, that the sons of Pandu may not be
ruined; that they may prosper, and attain their wishes. Similarly, I pray
for the prosperity of king Dhritarashtra whose sons are many. For
evermore, O Sanjaya, my desire hath been that I should tell them nothing
else than that peace would be acceptable to king Dhritarashtra. I also
deem it proper for the sons of Pandu. A peaceful disposition of an
exceedingly rare character hath been displayed by Pandu’s son in this
matter. When Dhritarashtra and his sons, however, are so covetous, I do
not see why hostility should not run high. Thou canst not pretend, O
Sanjaya, to be more versed than I am or Yudhishthira is, in the niceties
of right and wrong. Then why dost thou speak words of reproach with
reference to the conduct of Yudhishthira who is enterprising, mindful of
his own duty, and thoughtful, from the very beginning, of the welfare of
his family, agreeably to the injunctions (of treatises of morality)? With
regard to the topic at hand, the Brahmanas have held opinions of various
kinds. Some say that success in the world to come depends upon work. Some
declare that action should be shunned and that salvation is attainable by
knowledge. The Brahmanas say that though one may have a knowledge of
eatable things, yet his hunger will not be appeased unless he actually
eats. Those branches of knowledge that help the doing of work, bear
fruit, but not other kinds, for the fruit of work is of ocular
demonstration. A thirsty person drinks water, and by that act his thirst
is allayed. This result proceeds, no doubt, from work. Therein lies the
efficacy of work. If anyone thinks that something else is better than
work, I deem, his work and his words are meaningless. In the other world,
it is by virtue of work that the gods flourish. It is by work that the
wind blows. It is by virtue of work that the sleepless Surya rises every
day and becomes the cause of day and night, and Soma passes through the
months and the fortnights and the combinations of constellations. Fire is
kindled of itself and burns by virtue of work, doing good to mankind. The
sleepless goddess Earth, sustains by force this very great burden. The
sleepless rivers, giving satisfaction to all (organised) beings, carry
their waters with speed. The sleepless Indra, possessed of a mighty
force, pours down rain, resounding the heaven and the cardinal points.
Desirous of being the greatest of the gods, he led a life of austerities
such as a holy Brahmana leads. Indra gave up pleasure, and all things
agreeable to the heart. He sedulously cherished virtue and truth and
self-control, and forbearance, and impartiality, and humanity. It was by
work that he attained a position the highest (of all). Following the
above course of life, Indra attained the high sovereignty over the gods.
Vrihaspati, intently and with self-control, led in a proper manner that
life of austerities which a Brahmana leads. He gave up pleasure and
controlled his senses and thereby attained the position of the preceptor
of the celestials. Similarly, the constellations in the other world, by
virtue of work, and the Rudras, the Adityas, the Vasus, king Yama, and
Kuvera, and the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, and the celestial nymphs, all
attained their present position by work. In the other world, the saints
shine, following a life of study, austerity and work (combined). Knowing,
O Sanjaya, that this is the rule followed by the best of Brahmanas, and
Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas, and thou being one of the wisest men,--why art
thou making this endeavour on behalf of those sons of Kurus? Thou must
know that Yudhishthira is constantly engaged in the study of the Vedas.
He is inclined to the horse-sacrifice and the Rajasuya. Again, he rides
horses and elephants, is arrayed in armour, mounts a car, and takes up
the bow and all kinds of weapons. Now, if the sons of Pritha can see a
course of action not involving the slaughter of the sons of Kuru, they
would adopt it. Their virtue would then be saved, and an act of religious
merit also would be achieved by them, even if they would have then to
force Bhima to follow a conduct marked by humanity. On the other hand, if
in doing what their forefathers did, they should meet with death under
inevitable destiny, then in trying their utmost to discharge their duty,
such death would even be worthy of praise. Supposing thou approvest of
peace alone I should like to hear what thou mayst have to say to this
question,--which way doth the injunction of religious law lie, viz.,
whether it is proper for the king to fight or not?--Thou must, O Sanjaya,
take into thy consideration the division of the four castes, and the
scheme of respective duties allotted to each. Thou must hear that course
of action the Pandavas are going to adopt. Then mayst thou praise or
censure, just as it may please thee. A Brahmana should study, offer
sacrifices, make charities, and sojourn to the best of all holy places on
the earth; he should teach, minister as a priest in sacrifices offered by
others worthy of such help, and accept gifts from persons who are known.
Similarly, a Kshatriya should protect the people in accordance with the
injunctions of the law, diligently practise the virtue of charity, offer
sacrifices, study the whole Veda, take a wife, and lead a virtuous
householder’s life. If he be possessed of a virtuous soul, and if he
practise the holy virtues, he may easily attain the region of the
Supreme Being. A Vaisya should study and diligently earn and accumulate
wealth by means of commerce, agriculture, and the tending of cattle. He
should so act as to please the Brahmanas and the Kshatriyas, be virtuous,
do good works, and be a householder. The following are the duties
declared for a Sudra from the olden times. He should serve the Brahmanas
and submit to them; should not study; sacrifices are forbidden to him; he
should be diligent and be constantly enterprising in doing all that is
for his good. The king protects all these with (proper) care, and sets
all the castes to perform their respective duties. He should not be given
to sensual enjoyments. He should be impartial, and treat all his subjects
on an equal footing. The King should never obey the dictates of such
desires as are opposed to righteousness. If there be any body who is more
praise-worthy than he, who is well-known and gifted with all the virtues,
the king should instruct his subjects to see him. A bad (king), however,
would not understand this. Growing strong, and inhuman and becoming a
mark for destiny’s wrath, he would cast covetous eye on the riches of
others. Then comes war, for which purpose came into being weapons, and
armour, and bows. Indra invented these contrivances, for putting the
plunderers to death. He also contrived armours, and weapons, and bows.
Religious merit is acquired by putting the robbers to death. Many awful
evils have manifested themselves on account of the Kurus having been
unrighteous, and unmindful of law and religion. This is not right, O
Sanjaya. Now, king Dhritarashtra with his sons, hath unreasonably seized
what lawfully belonged to Pandu’s son. He minds not the immemorial law
observable by kings. All the Kurus are following in the wake. A thief who
steals wealth unseen and one who forcibly seizes the same, in open
day-light, are both to be condemned, O Sanjaya. What is the difference
between them and Dhritarashtra’s sons? From avarice he regards that to be
righteous which he intends to do, following the dictates of his wrath.
The shares of the Pandavas is, no doubt, fixed. Why should that share of
theirs be seized by that fool? This being the state of things, it would
be praiseworthy for us to be even killed in fight. A paternal kingdom is
preferable to sovereignty received from a stranger. These time-honoured
rules of law, O Sanjaya, thou must propound to the Kurus, in the midst of
the assembled kings,--I mean those dull-headed fools who have been
assembled together by Dhritarashtra’s son, and who are already under the
clutches of death. Look once more at that vilest of all their acts,--the
conduct of the Kurus in the council-hall. That those Kurus, at whose head
stood Bhishma, did not interfere when the beloved wife of the sons of
Pandu, daughter of Drupada, of fare fame, pure life, and conduct worthy
of praise, was seized, while weeping, by that slave of lust. The Kurus
all, including young and old, were present there. If they had then
prevented that indignity offered to her, then I should have been pleased
with Dhritarashtra’s behaviour. It would have been for the final good of
his sons also. Dussasana forcibly took Krishna into the midst of the
public hall wherein were seated her fathers-in-law. Carried there,
expecting sympathy, she found none to take her part, except Vidura. The
kings uttered not a word of protest, solely because they were a set of
imbeciles. Vidura alone spoke words of opposition, from a sense of
duty,--words conceived in righteousness addressed to that man
(Duryodhana) of little sense. Thou didst not, O Sanjaya, then say what
law and morality were, but now thou comest to instruct the son of Pandu!
Krishna, however, having repaired to the hall at that time made
everything right, for like a vessel in the sea, she rescued the Pandavas
as also herself, from that gathering ocean (of misfortunes)! Then in that
hall, while Krishna stood, the charioteer’s son addressed her in the
presence of her fathers-in-law saying, “O Daughter of Drupada thou hast
no refuge. Better betake thyself as a bond-woman to the house of
Dhritarashtra’s son. Thy husbands, being defeated, no longer exist. Thou
hast a loving soul, choose some one else for thy lord.” This speech,
proceeding from Karna, was a wordy arrow, sharp, cutting all hopes,
hitting the tenderest parts of the organisation, and frightful. It buried
itself deep in Arjuna’s heart. When the sons of Pandu were about to adopt
the garments made of the skins of black deer, Dussasana spoke the
following pungent words, “These all are mean eunuchs, ruined, and damned
for a lengthened time.” And Sakuni, the king of the Gandhara land, spoke
to Yudhishthira at the time of the game of dice the following words by
way of a wily trick, “Nakula hath been won by me from you, what else have
you got? Now you should better stake your wife Draupadi.” You know, O
Sanjaya, all these words of an approbrious kind which were spoken at the
time of the game of dice. I desire to go personally to the Kurus, in
order to settle this difficult matter. If without injury to the Pandava
cause I succeed in bringing about this peace with the Kurus, an act of
religious merit, resulting in very great blessings, will then have been
done by me; and the Kurus also will have been extricated from the meshes
of death. I hope that when I shall speak to the Kurus words of wisdom,
resting on rules of righteousness, words fraught with sense and free from
all tendency to inhumanity, Dhritarashtra’s son will, in my presence, pay
heed to them. I hope that when I arrive, the Kurus will pay me due
respect. Else thou mayst rest assured that those vicious sons of
Dhritarashtra, already scorched by their own vicious acts, will be burnt
up by Arjuna and Bhima ready for battle. When Pandu’s sons were defeated
(at the play), Dhritarashtra’s sons spoke to them words that were harsh
and rude. But when the time will come, Bhima will, no doubt, take care to
remind Duryodhana of those words. Duryodhana is a big tree of evil
passions; Karna is its trunk; Sakuni is its branches; Dussasana forms its
abundant blossoms and fruits; (while) the wise king Dhritarashtra is its
roots. Yudhishthira is a big tree of righteousness; Arjuna is its trunk;
and Bhima is its branches; the sons of Madri are its abundant flowers and
fruits; and its roots are myself and religion and religious men. King
Dhritarashtra with his sons constitutes a forest, while, O Sanjaya, the
sons of Pandu are its tigers. Do not, oh, cut down the forest with its
tigers, and let not the tigers be driven away from the forest. The tiger,
out of the woods, is easily slain; the wood also, that is without a
tiger, is easily cut down. Therefore, it is the tiger that protects the
forest and the forest that shelters the tiger. The Dhritarashtras are as
creepers, while, O Sanjaya, the Pandavas are Sala trees. A creeper can
never flourish unless it hath a large tree to twine round. The sons of
Pritha are ready to wait upon Dhritarashtra as, indeed, those repressors
of foes are ready for war. Let king Dhritarashtra now do what may be
proper for him to do. The virtuous and the high-souled sons of Pandu,
though competent to be engaged in fight, are yet now in place (with their
cousins). O learned man, represent all this truly (to Dhritarashtra).’”


“Sanjaya said, ‘I did thee farewell, O divine ruler of men. I will now
depart, O son of Pandu. Let prosperity be thine. I hope, I have not
carried away by the feelings of my heart, given utterance to anything
offensive. I would also bid farewell to Janardana, to Bhima and Arjuna,
to the son of Madri, to Satyaki, and to Chekitana, and take my departure.
Let peace and happiness be yours. Let all the kings look at me with eyes
of affection.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Permitted by us, O Sanjaya, take your leave. Peace
to thee! O learned man, thou never thinkest ill of us. Both they and we
know thee to be a person of pure heart in the midst of all in the court
(of the Kurus). Besides, being an ambassador now, O Sanjaya, thou art
faithful, beloved by us, of agreeable speech and excellent conduct, and
well-affected towards us. Thy mind is never clouded, and even if
addressed harshly thou art never moved to wrath. O Suta, thou never
utterest harsh and cutting words, or those that are false or bitter. We
know that thy words, free from malice, are always fraught with morality
and grave import. Amongst envoys thou art the most dear to us. Beside
thee, there is another, who may come here, and that is Vidura. Formerly,
we always used to see thee. Thou art, indeed, a friend to us as dear as
Dhananjaya. Proceeding hence, O Sanjaya, with all speed, thou shouldst
wait upon those Brahmanas of pure energy and devoted to study according
to the Brahmacharya mode,--those, namely, that are devoted to the study
of the Vedas while leading lives of mendicancy, those ascetics that
habitually dwell in the woods, as also the aged ones of other classes,
should all be addressed by thee in my name, O Sanjaya, and then their
welfare should be enquired into by thee. O Suta, repairing unto the
priest of king Dhritarashtra as also unto his preceptors and Ritwijas,
thou shouldst address them and enquire after their welfare. Even amongst
them that are, though not well-born at least aged, endued with energy,
and possessed of good behaviour and strength, who remembering speak of us
and practise according to their might even the least virtue, should first
be informed of my peace, O Sanjaya, and then shouldst thou enquire after
their welfare. Thou shouldst also enquire after the welfare of those that
live in the kingdom carrying on trade, and those that live there filling
important offices of state. Our beloved preceptor Drona, who is fully
versed in morality, who is our counsellor, who had practised the
Brahmacharya vow for mastering the Vedas, who once again hath made the
science of weapons full and complete, and who is always graciously
inclined towards us, should be greeted by thee in our name. Thou shouldst
also enquire into the welfare of Aswatthaman, endued with great learning,
devoted to the study of the Vedas, leading the Brahmacharya mode of life,
possessed of great activity, and like unto a youth of the Gandharva race,
and who, besides, hath once again made the science of weapons full and
complete. Thou must also, O Sanjaya, repair to the abode of Kripa, the
son of Saradwat, that mighty car-warrior and foremost of all persons
having a knowledge of self, and repeatedly saluting him in my name touch
his feet with thy hand. Thou shouldst also, touching his feet, represent
me as hale unto that foremost of the Kurus, Bhishma, in whom are combined
bravery, and abstention from injury, and asceticism, and wisdom and good
behaviour, and Vedic learning, and great excellence, and firmness.
Saluting unto also the wise, venerable, and blind king (Dhritarashtra),
who possessed of great learning and reverential to the old, is the leader
of the Kurus. Thou shouldst also, O Sanjaya, enquire, O sire, about the
welfare of the eldest of Dhritarashtra’s sons, Suyodhana, who is wicked
and ignorant and deceitful and vicious, and who now governs the entire
world. Thou shouldst also enquire about the welfare of even the wicked
Dussasana, that mighty bowman and hero among the Kurus, who is the
younger of Duryodhana and who possesses a character like that of his
elder brother. Thou shouldst, O Sanjaya, also salute the wise chief of
the Vahlikas, who always cherishes no other wish save that there should
be peace among the Bharatas. I think, thou shouldst also worship that
Somadatta who is endued with numerous excellent qualities, who is wise
and possesses a merciful heart, and who from his affection for the Kurus
always controls his anger towards them. The son of Somadatta is worthy of
the greatest reverence among the Kurus. He is my friend and is a brother
to us. A mighty bowman and the foremost of car-warriors, he is worthy in
all respects. Thou shouldst, O Sanjaya, enquire after his welfare along
with that of his friends and counsellors. Others there are of youthful
age and of consideration amongst the Kurus, who bear a relationship to us
like that of sons, grandsons, and brothers. Unto each of these thou must
speak words which thou mayst consider suitable, enquiring, O Suta, after
his welfare. Thou must also enquire about the welfare of those kings that
have been assembled by Dhritarashtra’s son for fighting with the
Pandavas, viz., the Kekayas, the Vasatis, the Salwakas, the Amvashthas,
and the leading Trigartas, and of those endued with great bravery that
have come from the east, the north, the south, and the west, and of those
that have come from hilly countries, in fact, of all amongst them that
are not cruel and that lead good lives. Thou shouldst also represent unto
all those persons who ride on elephants, and horses and cars, and who
fight on foot,--that mighty host composed of honourable men,--that I am
well, and then thou must enquire about their own welfare. Thou must also
enquire about the welfare of those that serve the king in the matter of
his revenue or as his door-keepers, or as the leaders of his troops, or
as the accountants of his income and outlay, or as officers constantly
occupied in looking after other important concerns. Thou must, O sire,
also enquire about the welfare of Dhritarashtra’s son by his Vaisya
wife,--that youth who is one of the best of the Kuru race,--who never
falls into error, who possesseth vast wisdom, who is endued with every
virtue, and who never cherishes a liking for this war! Thou shouldst also
ask about the welfare of Chitrasena who is unrivalled in the tricks of
dice, whose tricks are never detected by others, who plays well, who is
well-versed in the art of handling the dice, and who is unconquerable in
play but not in fight. Thou must also, O sire, enquire about the welfare
of Sakuni, the king of the Gandharas, that native of the hilly country,
who is unrivalled in deceitful games at dice, who enhances the pride of
Dhritarashtra’s son, and whose understanding naturally leads to
falsehood. Thou must also enquire about the welfare of Karna, the son of
Vikartana, that hero who is ready to vanquish, alone and unassisted,
mounted on his car, the Pandavas whom no one dares assail in battle, that
Karna who is unparalleled in deluding those that are already deluded.
Thou must also enquire about the welfare of Vidura, O sire, who alone is
devoted to us, who is our instructor, who reared us, who is our father
and mother and friend, whose understanding finds obstruction in nought,
whose ken reaches far, and who is our counsellor. Thou must also salute
all the aged dames and those who are known to be possessed of merit, and
those who are like mothers to us, meeting them gathered together in one
place. Thou must tell them, O Sanjaya, these words at first,--Ye mothers
of living sons, I hope, your sons comfort themselves towards you in a
kindly, considerate, and worthy way.--Thou must then tell them that
Yudhishthira is doing well with his sons. Those ladies, O Sanjaya, who
are in the rank of our wives, thou must ask as to their welfare also
addressing them in these words,--I hope, you are well-protected. I hope,
your fair fame hath suffered no injury. I hope, you are dwelling within
your abodes blamelessly and carefully. I hope, you are comforting
yourselves towards your fathers-in-law in a kindly, praise-worthy and
considerate way. You must steadily adopt such a conduct for yourselves as
will help you to win your husband’s favour! Those young ladies, O
Sanjaya, who bear a relationship to us like that of your
daughters-in-law, who have been brought from high families, who are
possessed of merit and who are mothers of children,--thou must meet them
all and tell them that Yudhishthira send his kindly greetings to them.
Thou must, O Sanjaya, embrace the daughters of your house, and must ask
them about their welfare on my behalf. Thou must tell them,--May your
husbands be kindly and agreeable; may you be agreeable to your husbands;
may you have ornaments and clothes and perfumery and cleanliness; may you
be happy and have at your command the joys of life; may your looks be
pretty and words pleasant. Thou must ask, O sire, the women of the house
as to their welfare. Thou must also represent unto the maid-servants and
man-servants there, may be of the Kurus, and also the many humpbacked and
lame ones among them, that I am doing well, and thou must then ask them
about their welfare. Thou must tell them,--I hope, Dhritarashtra’s son
still vouchsafes the same kindly treatment to you. I hope, he gives you
the comforts of life.--Thou must also represent unto those that are
defective in limb, those that are imbecile, the dwarfs to whom
Dhritarashtra gives food and raiment from motives of humanity, those that
are blind, and all those that are aged, as also to the many that have the
use only of their hands being destitute of legs, that I am doing well,
and that I ask them regarding their welfare, addressing them in the
following words,--Fear not, nor be dispirited on account of your unhappy
lives so full of sufferings; no doubt, sins must have been committed by
you in your former lives. When I shall check my foes, and delight my
friends, I shall satisfy you by gifts of food and clothes.--Thou shouldst
also, O sire, at our request, enquire after the welfare of those that are
masterless and weak, and of those that vainly strive to earn a living,
and of those that are ignorant, in fact, of all those persons that are in
pitiable circumstances. O charioteer, meeting those others, that coming
from different quarters, have sought the protection of the
Dhritarashtras, and in fact, all who deserve our greetings, thou shouldst
also enquire about their welfare and peace. Thou shouldst also enquire
about the welfare of those who have come to the Kurus of their own accord
or who have been invited, as also of all the ambassadors arrived from all
sides and then represent unto them that I am well. As regards the
warriors that have been obtained by Dhritarashtra’s son, there are none
equal to them on earth. Virtue, however, is eternal, and virtue is my
power for the destruction of my enemies. Thou shouldst, O Sanjaya, also
represent unto Suyodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, the following,--That
desire of thine which torments thy heart, viz., the desire of ruling the
Kurus without a rival, is very unreasonable. It had no justification. As
for ourselves, we will never act in such a way as to do anything that may
be disagreeable to thee! O foremost of heroes among the Bharatas, either
give me back my own Indraprastha or fight with me!’”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O Sanjaya, the righteous and the unrighteous, the
young and the old, the weak and the strong, are all under the control of
the Creator. It is that Supreme Lord who imparteth knowledge to the child
and childishness to the learned, according to his own will. If
Dhritarashtra ask thee about our strength, tell him everything truly,
having cheerfully consulted with everyone here and ascertained the truth.
O son of Gavalgana, repairing unto the Kurus, thou wilt salute the mighty
Dhritarashtra, and touching his feet enquire after his welfare speaking
in our name. And when seated in the midst of the Kurus, tell him from
us.--“The sons of Pandu, O king, are living happily in consequence of thy
prowess. It was through thy grace, O repressor of foes, that those
children of tender years had obtained a kingdom. Having first bestowed a
kingdom on them, thou shouldst not now be indifferent to them, for
destruction then would overtake them!” The whole of this kingdom, O
Sanjaya, is not fit to be owned by one person. Tell him again, from
us.--“O sire, we wish to live united. Do not suffer thyself to be
vanquished by foes.”--Thou shouldst again, O Sanjaya, bending thy head, in
my name salute the grandsire of the Bharatas, Bhishma, the son of
Santanu. Having saluted our grandsire, he should then be told.--“By thee,
when Santanu’s race was about to be extinct, it was revived. Therefore, O
sire, do that according to thy own judgment by which thy grandsons may
all live in amity with one another.” Thou shouldst then address Vidura
also, that adviser of the Kurus, saying.--“Counseleth peace, O amiable
one, from desire of doing good unto Yudhishthira.”--Thou shouldst address
the unforbearing prince Duryodhana also, when seated in the midst of the
Kurus, beseeching him again and again, saying,--“The insults thou hadst
offered to innocent and helpless Draupadi in the midst of the assembly,
we will quietly bear, simply because we have no mind to see the Kurus
slain. The other injuries also, both before and after that, the sons of
Pandu are quietly bearing, although they are possessed of might to avenge
them. All this, indeed, the Kauravas know. O amiable one, thou hadst even
exiled us dressed in deer-skins. We are bearing that also because we do
not want to see the Kurus slain. Dussasana, in obedience to thee, had
dragged Krishna, disregarding Kunti. That act also will be forgiven by
us. But, O chastiser of foes, we must have our proper share of the
kingdom. O bull among men, turn thy coveting heart from what belongeth to
others. Peace then, O king, will be amongst our gladdened selves. We are
desirous of peace; give us even a single province of the empire. Give us
even Kusasthala, Vrikasthala, Makandi, Varanavata, and for the fifth any
other that thou likest. Even this will end the quarrel. O Suyodhana, give
unto thy five brothers at least five villages,”--O Sanjaya, O thou of
great wisdom, let there be peace between us and our cousins. Tell him
also,--“Let brothers follow brothers, let sires unite with sons. Let the
Panchalas mingle with the Kurus in merry laughter. That I may see the
Kurus and the Panchalas whole and sound, is what I desire. O bull of the
Bharata race, with cheerful hearts let us make peace.” O Sanjaya, I am
equally capable of war and peace. I am prepared to acquire wealth as well
as to earn virtue. I am fit enough for severity as for softness.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Dismissed with salutation by the Pandavas, Sanjaya
set out for (Hastinapura) having executed all the commands of the
illustrious Dhritarashtra. Reaching Hastinapura he quickly entered it,
and presented himself at the gate of the inner apartments of the palace.
Addressing the porter, he said, ‘O gate-keeper, say unto Dhritarashtra
that I, Sanjaya, have just arrived, coming from the sons of Pandu. Do not
delay. If the king be awake, then only shouldst thou say so, O keeper,
for I like to enter having first apprised him of my arrival. In the
present instance I have something of very great importance to
communicate.’ Hearing this, the gate-keeper went to the king and
addressed him, saying, ‘O lord of earth, I bow to thee. Sanjaya is at thy
gates, desirous of seeing thee. He cometh, bearing a message from the
Pandavas. Issue your commands, O king, as to what he should do.’

“The king said, ‘Tell Sanjaya that I am happy and hale. Let him enter.
Welcome to Sanjaya. I am always ready to receive him. Why should he stay
outside whose admission is never forbidden?’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Then, with the king’s permission, having
entered that spacious apartment, the Suta’s son, with joined hands,
approached the royal son of Vichitravirya who was protected by many wise,
valiant, and righteous persons, and who was then seated on his throne.
And Sanjaya addressed him, saying, ‘I am Sanjaya, O king. I bow unto
thee. O chief of men, proceeding hence I found the sons of Pandu. After
having paid his salutations to thee, Pandu’s son, the intelligent
Yudhishthira, enquired of thy welfare. And well-pleased, he also
enquireth after thy sons, and asketh thee whether thou art happy with thy
sons and grandsons and friends and counsellors, and, O king, all those
that depend upon thee.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O child, giving my blessings to Ajatasatru, I ask
thee, O Sanjaya, whether that king of the Kauravas, Pritha’s son, is well
with his sons and brothers and counsellors.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Pandu’s son is well with his counsellors. He desires
possessions of that which he formerly had as his own. He seeketh virtue
and wealth without doing anything that is censurable, possesseth
intelligence and vast learning, and is, besides, far-sighted and of
excellent disposition. With that son of Pandu, abstention from injury is
even superior to virtue, and virtue superior to the accumulation of
wealth. His mind, O Bharata, is always inclined to happiness and joy, and
to such courses of action as are virtuous and conducive to the higher ends
of life. Even like a doll pulled this way and that by threads, man (in this
world) moveth, swayed by a force not his own. Beholding the sufferings of
Yudhishthira, I regard the force of destiny to be superior to the effect
of human exertion. Beholding again thy unworthy deeds, which, besides,
being highly sinful and unspeakable, are sure to terminate in misery, it
seemeth to me that one of thy nature winneth praise only so long as his
able foe bideth his time. Renouncing all sin, even as a serpent casteth
off its worn out slough which it cannot any longer retain, the heroic
Ajatasatru shineth in his natural perfection, leaving his load of sins to
be borne by thee. Consider, O king, thy own acts which are contrary to
both religion and profit, and to the behaviour of those that are
righteous. Thou hast, O king, earned a bad repute in this world, and wilt
reap misery in the next. Obeying the counsels of thy son thou hopest to
enjoy this doubtful property, keeping them aloof. This unrighteous deed
is loudly bruited about in the world. Therefore, O foremost of the
Bharatas, this deed is unworthy of thee. Calamity overtaketh him who is
deficient in wisdom, or who is of low birth, or who is cruel, or who
cherisheth hostility for a long time, or who is not steady in Kshatriya
virtues, or is devoid of energy, or is of a bad disposition, in fact, him
who hath such marks. It is by virtue of luck that a person taketh his
birth in good race, or becometh strong, or famous, or versed in various
lore, or possesseth the comforts of life, or becometh capable of subduing
his senses, or discriminating virtue and vice that are always linked
together. What person is there, who, attended upon by foremost of
counsellors, possessed of intelligence, capable of discriminating between
virtue and vice in times of distress, not destitute of the rituals of
religion, and retaining the use of all his faculties, would commit cruel
deeds. These counsellors, ever devoted to thy work, wait here united
together. Even this is their firm determination (viz., that the Pandavas
are not to get back their share). The destruction of the Kurus,
therefore, is certain to be brought about by the force of circumstances.
If, provoked by the offences, Yudhishthira wisheth for misery to thee,
the Kurus will be destroyed prematurely, while, imparting all his sins
to thee, the blame of that deed will be thine in this world. Indeed, what
else is there save the will of the Gods, for Arjuna, the son of Pritha,
leaving this world ascended to the very heavens and was honoured there
very greatly. This proves that individual exertion is nothing. There is
no doubt as to this. Seeing that the attributes of high birth, bravery,
etc., depended for their development or otherwise on acts, and beholding
also prosperity and adversity and stability and instability (in persons
and their possessions), king Vali, in his search after causes, having
failed to discover a beginning (in the chain of acts of former lives one
before another), regarded the eternal Essence to be the cause of
everything. The eye, the ear, the nose, the touch, and the tongue, these
are the doors of a person’s knowledge. If desire be curbed, these would
be gratified by themselves. Therefore, cheerfully and without repining
one should control the senses. Others there are that think differently.
They hold that if a person’s acts are well-applied, these must produce
the desired result. Thus the child begot by the act of the mother and the
father grows when duly tended with food and drink. Men in this world
become subject to love and hate, pleasure and pain, praise and blame. A
man is praised when he behaves honestly. Thee I blame, since these
dissensions of the Bharatas (whose root thou art) will surely bring about
the destruction of innumerable lives. If peace be not concluded, then
through thy fault Arjuna will consume the Kurus like a blazing fire
consuming a heap of dried grass. O ruler of men, thou alone of all the
world, yielding to thy son whom no restraints can blind, hadst regarded
thyself as crowned with success and abstained from avoiding dispute at
the time of the match at dice. Behold now the fruit of that (weakness of
thine)! O monarch, by rejecting advisers that are faithful and accepting
those that deserve no confidence, this extensive and prosperous empire, O
son of Kuru, thou art unable to retain owing to thy weakness. Wearied by
my fast journey and very much fatigued, I solicit thy permission to go to
bed now, O lion of men, for tomorrow morning will the Kurus, assembled
together in the council-hall, hear the words of Ajatasatru.’”


Vaisampayana said, “King Dhritarashtra endued with great wisdom (then)
said to the orderly-in-waiting, ‘I desire to see Vidura. Bring him here
without delay.’ Despatched by Dhritarashtra, the messenger went to
Kshattri and said, ‘O thou of great wisdom, our lord the mighty king
desireth to see thee.’ Thus addressed, Vidura (set out and) coming to the
palace, spoke unto the orderly, ‘Apprise Dhritarashtra of my arrival.’
Thereupon the orderly went to Dhritarashtra, and said, ‘O foremost of
kings, Vidura is here at thy command. He wisheth to behold thy feet.
Command me as to what he is to do.’ Thereupon Dhritarashtra said, ‘Let
Vidura of great wisdom and foresight enter. I am never unwilling or
unprepared to see Vidura.’ The orderly then went out and spoke unto
Vidura, ‘O Kshattri, enter the inner apartments of the wise king. The king
says that he is never unwilling to see thee.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having entered Dhritarashtra’s chamber, Vidura
said with joined hands unto that ruler of men who was then plunged in
thought, ‘O thou of great wisdom, I am Vidura, arrived here at thy
command. If there is anything to be done, here I am, command me!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O Vidura, Sanjaya hath come back. He hath gone away
after rebuking me. Tomorrow he will deliver, in the midst of the court,
Ajatasatru’s message. I have not been able today to ascertain what the
message is of the Kuru hero. Therefore, my body is burning, and that hath
produced sleeplessness. Tell us what may be good for a person that is
sleepless and burning. Thou art, O child, versed in both religion and
profit. Ever since, Sanjaya hath returned from the Pandavas, my heart
knoweth no peace. Filled with anxiety about what he may deliver, all my
senses have been disordered’.

“Vidura said, ‘Sleeplessness overtaketh a thief, a lustful person, him that
hath lost all his wealth, him that hath failed to achieve success, and
him also that is weak and hath been attacked by a strong person. I hope,
O king, that none of these grave calamities have overtaken thee. I hope,
thou dost not grieve, coveting the wealth of others.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I desire to hear from thee words that are
beneficial and fraught with high morality. In this race of royal Rishis
thou alone art reverenced by the wise.’ Vidura replied, ‘King
(Yudhishthira), graced with every virtue, is worthy of being the
sovereign of the three worlds; yet, O Dhritarashtra, however worthy of
being kept by thy side, he was exiled by thee. Thou art, however,
possessed of qualities which are the very reverse of those possessed by
him. Although virtuous and versed in morality, thou hast yet no right to
a share in the kingdom owing to thy loss of sight. In consequence of his
inoffensiveness and kindness, his righteousness, love of truth and
energy, and his remembering the reverence that is due to thee,
Yudhishthira patiently bears innumerable wrongs. Having bestowed on
Duryodhana and Suvala’s son and Karna, and Dussasana the management of
the empire, how canst thou hope for prosperity? He that is not served
from the high ends of life by the aid of self-knowledge, exertion,
forbearance and steadiness in virtue, is called wise. These again are the
marks of a wise man, viz., adherence to acts, worthy of praise and
rejection of what is blamable, faith, and reverence. He whom neither
anger nor joy, nor pride, nor false modesty, nor stupefaction, nor
vanity, can draw away from the high ends of life, is considered as wise.
He whose intended acts, and proposed counsels remain concealed from foes,
and whose acts become known only after they have been done, is considered
wise. He whose proposed actions are never obstructed by heat or cold,
fear of attachment, prosperity or adversity, is considered wise. He whose
judgment dissociated from desire, followeth both virtue and profit, and
who disregarding pleasure chooseth such ends as are serviceable in both
worlds, is considered wise. They that exert to the best of their might,
and act also to the best of their might, and disregard nothing as
insignificant, are called wise. He that understandeth quickly, listeneth
patiently, pursueth his objects with judgment and not from desire and
spendeth not his breath on the affairs of others without being asked, is
said to possess the foremost mark of wisdom. They that do not strive for
objects that are unattainable, that do not grieve for what is lost and
gone, that do not suffer their minds to be clouded amid calamities, are
regarded to possess intellects endued with wisdom. He who striveth,
having commenced anything, till it is completed, who never wasteth his
time, and who hath his soul under control, is regarded wise. They that
are wise, O bull of the Bharata race, always delight in honest deeds, do
what tendeth to their happiness and prosperity, and never sneer at what
is good. He who exulteth not at honours, and grieveth not at slights, and
remaineth cool and unagitated like a lake in the course of Ganga, is
reckoned as wise. That man who knoweth the nature of all creatures (viz.,
that everything is subject to destruction), who is cognisant also of the
connections of all acts, and who is proficient in the knowledge of the
means that men may resort to (for attaining their objects), is reckoned
as wise. He who speaketh boldly, can converse on various subjects,
knoweth the science of argumentation, possesseth genius, and can
interpret the meaning of what is writ in books, is reckoned as wise. He
whose studies are regulated by reason, and whose reason followeth the
scriptures, and who never abstaineth from paying respect to those that
are good, is called a wise man. He, on the other hand, who is ignorant of
scripture yet vain, poor yet proud, and who resorteth to unfair means for
the acquisition of his objects, is a fool. He who, forsaking his own,
concerneth himself with the objects of others, and who practiseth
deceitful means for serving his friends, is called a fool. He who wisheth
for those things that should not be desired, and forsaketh those that may
legitimately be desired, and who beareth malice to those that are
powerful, is regarded to be a foolish soul. He who regardeth his foe as
his friend, who hateth and beareth malice to his friend, and who
committeth wicked deeds, is said to be a person of foolish soul. O bull
of the Bharata race, he who divulgeth his projects, doubteth in all
things, and spendeth a long time in doing what requireth a short time, is
a fool. He who doth not perform the Sraddha for the Pitris, nor
worshippeth the deities, nor acquireth noble-minded friends, is said to
be a person of foolish soul. That worst of men who entereth a place
uninvited, and talketh much without being asked, and reposeth trust on
untrustworthy wights, is a fool. That man who being himself guilty
casteth the blame on others, and who though impotent giveth vent to
anger, is the most foolish of men. That man, who, without knowing his own
strength and dissociated from both virtue and profit, desireth an object
difficult of acquisition, without again adopting adequate means, is said
to be destitute of intelligence. O king, he who punisheth one that is
undeserving of punishment, payeth homage to persons without their
knowledge, and waiteth upon misers, is said to be of little sense. But he
that, having attained immense wealth and prosperity or acquired (vast)
learning, doth not bear himself haughtily, is reckoned as wise. Who,
again, is more heartless than he, who, though possessed of affluence,
eateth himself and weareth excellent robes himself without distributing
his wealth among his dependents? While one person committeth sins, many
reap the advantage resulting therefrom; (yet in the end) it is the doer
alone to whom the sin attacheth while those that enjoy the fruit escape
unhurt. When a bowman shooteth an arrow, he may or may not succeed in
slaying even a single person, but when an intelligent individual applieth
his intelligence (viciously), it may destroy an entire kingdom with the
king. Discriminating the two by means of the one, bring under thy
subjection the three by means of four, and also conquering the five and
knowing the six, and abstaining from the seven, be happy. Poison slayeth
but one person, and a weapon also but one; wicked counsels, however,
destroy an entire kingdom with king and subject. Alone one should not
partake of any savoury viand, nor alone reflect on concerns of profit,
nor alone go upon a journey, nor alone remain awake among sleeping
companions. That Being who is One without a second, and whom, O king,
thou hast not been able to comprehend, is Truth’s self, and the Way to
heaven, even like a boat in the ocean. There is one only defect in
forgiving persons, and not another; that defect is that people take a
forgiving person to be weak. That defect, however, should not be taken
into consideration, for forgiveness is a great power. Forgiveness is a
virtue of the weak, and an ornament of the strong. Forgiveness subdueth
(all) in this world; what is there that forgiveness cannot achieve? What
can a wicked person do unto him who carrieth the sabre of forgiveness in
his hand? Fire falling on a grassless ground is extinguished of itself.
An unforgiving individual defileth himself with many enormities.
Righteousness is the one highest good; and forgiveness is the one supreme
peace; knowledge is one supreme contentment; and benevolence, one sole
happiness. Even as a serpent devoureth animals living in holes, the earth
devoureth these two, viz., a king who is incompetent to fight, and a
Brahmana who doth not sojourn to holy places. A man may attain renown in
this world by doing two things, viz., by refraining from harsh speech,
and by disregarding those that are wicked. O tiger among men, these two
have not a will of their own, viz., those women who covet men simply
because the latter are coveted by others of their sex, and that person
who worships another simply because the latter is worshipped by others.
These two are like sharp thorns afflicting the body, viz., the desires of
a poor man, and the anger of the impotent. These two persons never shine
because of their incompatible acts, viz., a householder without exertion,
and a beggar busied in schemes. These two, O king, live (as it were) in a
region higher than heaven itself, viz., a man of power endued with
forgiveness, and poor man that is charitable. Of things honestly got,
these two must be looked upon as misuse, viz., making gifts to the
unworthy and refusing the worthy. These two should be thrown into the
water, tightly binding weights to their necks, viz., a wealthy man that
doth not give away, and a poor man that is proud. These two, O tiger
among men, can pierce the orb itself of the sun, viz., a mendicant
accomplished in yoga, and a warrior that hath fallen in open fight. O
bull of the Bharata race, persons versed in the Vedas have said that
men’s means are good, middling, and bad. Men also, O king, are good,
indifferent, and bad. They should, therefore, be respectively employed in
that kind of work for which they may be fit. These three, O king, cannot
have wealth of their own, viz., the wife, the slave, and the son, and
whatever may be earned by them would be his to whom they belong. Great
fear springeth from these three crimes, viz., theft of other’s property,
outrage on other’s wives, and breach with friend. These three, besides
being destructive to one’s own self, are the gates of hell, viz., lust,
anger, and covetousness. Therefore, every one should renounce them. These
three should never be forsaken even in imminent danger, viz., a follower,
one who seeks protection, saying,--I am thine,--and lastly one who hath
come to your abode. Verily, O Bharata, liberating a foe from distress,
alone amounteth in point of merit, to these three taken together, viz.,
conferring a boon, acquiring a kingdom, and obtaining a son. Learned men
have declared that a king, although powerful, should never consult with
these four, viz., men of small sense, men that are procrastinating, men
that are indolent, and men that are flatterers. O sire, crowned with
prosperity and leading the life of a householder, let these four dwell
with thee, viz., old consanguineous relatives, high-born persons fallen
into adversity, poor friends, and issueless sisters. On being asked by
the chief of the celestials, Vrihaspati, O mighty king declared four
things capable of fructifying or occurring within a single day, viz., the
resolve of the gods, the comprehensions of intelligent persons, the
humility of learned men, and the destruction of the sinful. These four
that are calculated to remove fear, bring on fear when they are
improperly performed, viz., the Agni-hotra, the vow of silence, study,
and sacrifice (in general). O bull of the Bharata race, these five fires,
should be worshipped with regard by a person, viz., father, mother, fire
(proper), soul and preceptor. By serving these five, men attain great
fame in this world, viz., the gods, the Pitris, men, beggars, and guests.
These five follow thee wherever thou goest, viz., friends, foes, those
that are indifferent, dependants, and those that are entitled to
maintenance. Of the five senses beholding to man, if one springeth a
leak, then from that single hole runneth out all his intelligence, even
like water running out from a perforated leathern vessel. The six faults
should be avoided by a person who wisheth to attain prosperity, viz.,
sleep, drowsiness, fear, anger, indolence and procrastination. These six
should be renounced like a splitting vessel in the sea, viz., a preceptor
that cannot expound the scriptures, a priest that is illiterate, a king
that is unable to protect, a wife that speaketh disagreeable words, a
cow-herd that doth not wish to go to the fields, and a barber that
wisheth to renounce a village for the woods. Verily, those six qualities
should never be forsaken by men, viz., truth, charity, diligence,
benevolence, forgiveness and patience. These six are instantly destroyed,
if neglected, viz., kine, service, agriculture, a wife, learning, and the
wealth of a Sudra. These six forget those who have bestowed obligations
on them, viz., educated disciples, their preceptors; married persons,
their mothers; persons whose desires have been gratified, women; they who
have achieved success, they who had rendered aid; they who have crossed a
river, the boat (that carried them over); and patients that have been
cured, their physicians. Health, unindebtedness, living at home,
companionship with good men, certainty as regards the means of
livelihood, and living without fear, these six, O king, conduce to the
happiness of men. These six are always miserable, viz., the envious, the
malicious, the discontented, the irascible, the ever-suspicious, and
those depending upon the fortunes of others. These six, O king, comprise
the happiness of men, viz., acquirement of wealth, uninterrupted health,
a beloved and a sweet-speeched wife, an obedient son, and knowledge that
is lucrative. He that succeedeth in gaining the mastery over the six that
are always present in the human heart, being thus the master of his
senses, never committeth sin, and therefore suffereth calamity. These six
may be seen to subsist upon other six, viz., thieves, upon persons that
are careless; physicians, on persons that are ailing; women, upon persons
suffering from lust; priests, upon them that sacrifice; a king, upon
persons that quarrel; and lastly men of learning, upon them that are
without it. A king should renounce these seven faults that are productive
of calamity, inasmuch as they are able to effect the ruin of even
monarchs firmly established; these are women, dice, hunting, drinking,
harshness of speech, severity of punishment, and misuse of wealth. These
eight are the immediate indications of a man destined to destruction,
viz., hating the Brahmanas, disputes with Brahmanas, appropriation of a
Brahmana’s possessions, taking the life of Brahmana, taking a pleasure in
reviling Brahmanas, grieving to hear the praises of Brahmanas, forgetting
them on ceremonious occasions, and giving vent to spite when they ask for
anything. These transgressions a wise man should understand, and
understanding, eschew. These eight, O Bharata, are the very cream of
happiness, and these only are attainable here, viz., meeting with
friends, accession of immense wealth, embracing a son, union for
intercourse, conversation with friends in proper times, the advancement
of persons belonging to one’s own party, the acquisition of what had been
anticipated, and respect in society. These eight qualities glorify a man,
viz., wisdom, high birth, self-restraint, learning, prowess, moderation
in speech, gift according to one’s power, and gratitude. This house hath
nine doors, three pillars, and five witnesses. It is presided over by the
soul. That learned man who knoweth all this is truly wise. O
Dhritarashtra, these ten do not know what virtue is viz., the
intoxicated, inattentive, the raving, the fatigued, the angry, the
starving, the hasty, the covetous, the frightened, and the lustful.
Therefore, he that is wise must eschew the company of these. In this
connection is cited the old story about what transpired between Suyodhana
and (Prahlada), the chief of the Asuras in relation to the latter’s son.
That king who renounceth lust and anger, who bestoweth wealth upon proper
recipients, and is discriminating, learned, and active, is regarded as an
authority of all men. Great prosperity attends upon that king who knoweth
how to inspire confidence in others, who inflicteth punishment on those
whose guilt hath been proved, who is acquainted with the proper measure
of punishment, and who knoweth when mercy is to be shown. He is a wise
person who doth not disregard even a weak foe; who proceeds with
intelligence in respect of a foe, anxiously watching for an opportunity;
who doth not desire hostilities with persons stronger than himself; and
who displayeth his prowess in season. That illustrious person who doth
not grieve when a calamity hath already come upon him, who exerteth with
all his senses collected, and who patiently beareth misery in season, is
certainly the foremost of persons, and all his foes are vanquished. He
who doth not live away from hope uselessly, who doth not make friends
with sinful persons, who never outrageth another’s wife, who never
betrayeth arrogance, and who never committeth a theft or showeth
ingratitude or indulgeth in drinking is always happy. He who never
boastfully striveth to attain the three objects of human pursuit, who
when asked, telleth the truth, who quarreleth not even for the sake of
friends, and who never becometh angry though slighted, is reckoned as
wise. He who beareth not malice towards others but is kind to all, who
being weak disputeth not with others, who speaketh not arrogantly, and
forgeteth a quarrel, is praised everywhere. That man who never assumeth a
haughty mien, who never censureth others praising himself the while, and
never addresseth harsh words to others for getting himself, is ever loved
by all. He who raketh not up old hostilities, who behaveth neither
arrogantly nor with too much humility, and who even when distressed never
committeth an improper act, is considered by respectable men a person of
good conduct. He who exulteth not at his own happiness, nor delighteth in
another’s misery, and who repenteth not after having made a gift, is said
to be a man of good nature and conduct. He who desireth to obtain a
knowledge of the customs of different countries, and also the languages
of different nations, and of the usages of different orders of men,
knoweth at once all that is high and low; and wherever he may go, he is
sure to gain an ascendancy over even those that are glad. The intelligent
man who relinquisheth pride, folly, insolence, sinful acts, disloyalty
towards the king, crookedness of behaviour, enmity with many, and also
quarrels with men that are drunk, mad and wicked, is the foremost of his
species. The very gods bestow prosperity upon him who daily practiseth
self-restraint, purification, auspicious rites, worship of the gods,
expiatory ceremonies, and other rites of universal observance. The acts
of that learned man are well-conceived, and well-applied who formeth
matrimonial alliances with persons of equal positions and not with those
that are inferior, who placeth those before him that are more qualified,
and who talketh, behaveth and maketh friendships with persons of equal
position. He who eateth frugally after dividing the food amongst his
dependants, who sleepeth little after working much, and who, when
solicited giveth away even unto his foes, hath his soul under control,
and calamities always keep themselves aloof from him. He whose counsels
are well-kept and well-carried out into practice, and whose acts in
consequence thereof are never known by others to injure men, succeedeth
in securing even his most trifling objects. He who is intent upon
abstaining from injury to all creatures, who is truthful, gentle,
charitable, and pure in mind, shineth greatly among his kinsmen like a
precious gem of the purest ray having its origin in an excellent mine.
That man who feeleth shame even though his faults be not known to any
save himself, is highly honoured among all men. Possessed of a pure heart
and boundless energy and abstracted within himself, he shineth in
consequence of his energy like the very sun. King Pandu consumed by a
(Brahmana’s) curse, had five sons born unto him in the woods that are
like five Indras. O son of Ambika, thou hast brought up those children
and taught them everything. They are obedient to thy commands. Giving
them back their just share of the kingdom, O sire, filled with joy, be
thou happy with thy sons. Then, O monarch, thou shalt inspire confidence
in both the gods and men.’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Tell me what may be done by a person that is
sleepless and burning with anxieties, for thou alone amongst us, O child,
art versed in both religion and profit. Advise me wisely, O Vidura. O
thou of magnanimous heart, tell me what thou deemest to be beneficial
for Ajatasatru and what is productive of good to the Kurus. Apprehending
future evils. I look back only on my previous guilt: I ask thee with
anxious heart, O learned one, tell me what is exactly in Ajatasatru’s

“Vidura said, ‘Even if unasked, one should speak truly, whether his words
be good or bad, hateful or pleasing, unto him whose defeat one doth not
wish. I shall, therefore, say, O king, what is for the good of the Kurus.
I shall say what is both beneficial and consistent with morality. Listen
to me. Do not, O Bharata, set the heart upon means of success that are
unjust and improper. A man of intelligence must not grieve if any purpose
of his doth not succeed, notwithstanding the application of fair and
proper means. Before one engageth in an act, one should consider the
competence of the agent, the nature of the act itself, and its purpose,
for all acts are dependent on these. Considering these one should begin
an act, and not take it up on a sudden impulse. He that is wise should
either do an act or desist from it fully considering his own ability, the
nature of the act, and the consequence also of success. The king who
knoweth not proportion or measure as regards territory, gain, loss,
treasury, population, and punishment, cannot retain his kingdom long. He,
on the other hand, who is acquainted with the measures of these as
prescribed in treatises, being necessarily possessed of the knowledge of
religion and profit, can retain his kingdom. As the stars are affected by
the planets, so is this world affected by the senses, when they are
directed, uncontrolled, to their respective objects. Like the moon during
the lighted fortnight, calamities increase in respect of him who is
vanquished by the five senses in their natural state, which ever lead him
towards various acts. He who wisheth to control his counsellors before
controlling his own self, or to subdue his adversaries before controlling
his counsellors, at last succumbs deprived of strength. He, therefore,
who first subdueth his own self regarding it as a foe, never faileth to
subdue his counsellors and adversaries at last. Great prosperity waiteth
upon him who hath subdued his senses, or controlled his soul, or who is
capable of punishing all offenders, or who acteth with judgment or who is
blessed with patience. One’s body, O king, is one’s car; the soul within
is the driver; and the senses are its steeds. Drawn by those excellent
steeds, when well-trained, he that is wise, pleasantly performeth the
journey of life, and awake in peace. The horses that are unbroken and
incapable of being controlled, always lead an unskilful driver to
destruction in the course of the journey; so one’s senses, unsubdued,
lead only to destruction. The inexperienced wight, who, led by this
unsubdued senses, hopeth to extract evil from good and good from evil,
necessarily confoundeth misery with happiness. He, who, forsaking
religion and profit, followeth the lead of his senses, loseth without
delay prosperity, life, wealth and wife. He, who is the master of riches
but not of his senses, certainly loseth his riches in consequence of his
want of mastery over his senses. One should seek to know one’s self by
means of one’s own self, controlling one’s mind, intellect, and senses,
for one’s self is one’s friend as, indeed, it is one’s own foe. That man,
who hath conquered self by means of self, hath his self for a friend, for
one’s self is ever one’s friend or foe. Desire and anger, O king, break
through wisdom, just as a large fish breaks through a net of thin cords.
He, who in this world regarding both religion and profit, seeketh to
acquire the means of success, winneth happiness, possessing all he had
sought. He, who, without subduing his five inner foes of mental origin,
wisheth to vanquish other adversaries, is, in fact, overpowered by the
latter. It is seen that many evil-minded kings, owing to want of mastery
over their senses, are ruined by acts of their own, occasioned by the
lust of territory. As fuel that is wet burneth with that which is dry, so
a sinless man is punished equally with the sinful in consequence of
constant association with the latter. Therefore, friendship with the
sinful should be avoided. He that, from ignorance, faileth to control his
five greedy foes, having five distinct objects, is overwhelmed by
calamities. Guilelessness and simplicity, purity and contentment,
sweetness of speech and self-restraint, truth and steadiness,--these are
never the attributes of the wicked. Self-knowledge and steadiness,
patience and devotion to virtue, competence to keep counsels and
charity,--these, O Bharata, never exist in inferior men. Fools seek to
injure the wise by false reproaches and evil speeches. The consequence
is, that by this they take upon themselves the sins of the wise, while
the latter, freed from their sins, are forgiven. In malice lieth the
strength of the wicked; in criminal code, the strength of kings, in
attentions of the weak and of women; and in forgiveness that of the
virtuous. To control speech, O king, is said to be most difficult. It is
not easy to hold a long conversation uttering words full of meaning and
delightful to the hearers. Well-spoken speech is productive of many
beneficial results; and ill-spoken speech, O king, is the cause of evils.
A forest pierced by arrows, or cut down by hatchets may again grow, but
one’s heart wounded and censured by ill-spoken words never recovereth.
Weapons, such as arrows, bullets, and bearded darts, can be easily
extracted from the body, but a wordy dagger plunged deep into the heart
is incapable of being taken out. Wordy arrows are shot from the mouth;
smitten by them one grieveth day and night. A learned man should not
discharge such arrows, for do they not touch the very vitals of others.
He, to whom the gods ordain defeat, hath his senses taken away, and it is
for this that he stoopeth to ignoble deeds. When the intellect becometh
dim and destruction is nigh, wrong, looking like right, firmly sticketh
to the heart. Thou dost not clearly see it, O bull of the Bharata race,
that clouded intellect hath now possessed thy sons in consequence of
their hostility to the Pandavas. Endued with every auspicious mark and
deserving to rule the three worlds, Yudhishthira is obedient to thy
commands. Let him, O Dhritarashtra, rule the earth, to the exclusion of
all thy sons. Yudhishthira is the foremost of all thy heirs. Endued with
energy and wisdom, and acquainted with the truths of religion and profit,
Yudhishthira, that foremost of righteous men, hath, O king of kings,
suffered much misery out of kindness and sympathy, in order to preserve
thy reputation.’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O thou of great intelligence, tell me again words
such as these, consistent with religion and profit. My thirst for hearing
them is not quenched. What thou sayst is charming!’

“Vidura said, ‘Ablution in all the holy places and kindness to all
creatures,--these two are equal. Perhaps, kindness to all creatures
surpasseth the former. O master, show kindness unto all thy sons, for by
that winning great fame in this world, thou wilt have heaven hereafter.
As long as a man’s good deeds are spoken of in this world, so long, O
tiger among men, is he glorified in heaven. In this connection is cited
an old story about the conversation between Virochana and Sudhanwan, both
suitors for Kesini’s hand. Once on a time, O king, there was a maiden of
the name of Kesini, unrivalled for beauty; moved by the desire of
obtaining a good husband, she resolved to choose her lord in Swayamvara.
Then one of the sons of Diti, Virochana by name, went to that spot,
desirous of obtaining the maiden. Beholding that chief of the Daityas,
Kesini addressed him, saying, “Are Brahmanas superior, O Virochana, or
are the sons of Diti superior? And why also should not Sudhanwan sit on
the sofa?” Virochana said, “Sprung from Prajapati himself, we, O Kesini,
are the best and at the top of all creatures, and this world is ours
without doubt. Who are the gods, and who are the Brahmanas?” Kesini said,
“We will, O Virochana, stay here in this very pavilion. Sudhanwan will
come here on the morrow, and let me see both of you sitting together.”
 Virochana said, ‘O amiable and timid girl, I will do what thou sayst.
Thou wilt behold Sudhanwan and myself met together in the morning.’

“Vidura continued, ‘When the night had passed away and the solar disc had
risen, Sudhanwan, O best of kings, came to that place where, O master,
Virochana was waiting with Kesini. And Sudhanwan saw there both
Prahlada’s son and Kesini. And beholding the Brahmana arrived, Kesini, O
bull of the Bharata race, rising up from hers, offered him a seat, water
to wash his feet, and Arghya. And asked by Virochana (to share his seat)
Sudhanwan said, “O son of Prahlada, I touch thy excellent golden seat. I
cannot, however, suffer myself to be regarded as thy equal, and sit on it
with thee.” Virochana said, “A piece of wooden plank, an animal skin, or
a mat of grass or straw,--these only, O Sudhanwan, are fit for thee. Thou
deservest not, however, the same seat with me.” Sudhanwan said, “Father
and son, Brahmanas of the same age and equal learning, two Kshatriyas,
two Vaisyas and two Sudras, can sit together on the same seat, Except
these, no other can sit together. Your father used to pay his regards to
me, taking a seat lower than that occupied by me. Thou art a child,
brought up in every luxury at home and thou understandest nothing.”
 Virochana said, “Staking all the gold, kine, horses, and every other kind
of wealth that we have among the Asuras, let us, O Sudhanwan, ask them
this question that are able to answer.” Sudhanwan said, “‘Let alone your
gold, kine, and heroes, O Virochana. Making our lives forfeited, we will
ask them this question that are competent.” Virochana said, “Wagering our
lives where shall we go? I will not appear before any of the gods and
never before any among men.” Sudhanwan said, “Having wagered our lives,
we will approach thy father, for he, Prahlada, will never say an untruth
even for the sake of his son.”

“Vidura continued, ‘Having thus laid a wager, Virochana and Sudhanwan,
both moved by rage, proceeded to that place where Prahlada was. And
beholding them together, Prahlada said, “These two who had never before
been companions, are now seen together coming hither by the same road,
like two angry snakes. Have ye now become companions,--ye who were never
companions before? I ask thee, O Virochana, has there been friendship
between thee and Sudhanwan?” Virochana said, “There is no friendship
between me and Sudhanwan. On the other hand, we have both wagered our
lives. O chief of the Asuras, I shall ask thee a question, do not answer
it untruly!” Prahlada said, “Let water, and honey and curds, be brought
for Sudhanwan. Thou deservest our worship, O Brahmana. A white and fat
cow is ready for thee.” Sudhanwan said, “Water and honey and curds, have
been presented to me on my way hither. I shall ask thee a question,
Prahlada, answer it truly! are Brahmanas superior, or is Virochana
superior?” Prahlada said, “O Brahmana, this one is my only son. Thou also
art present here in person. How can one like us answer a question about
which ye two have quarrelled?” Sudhanwan said, “Give unto thy son thy kine
and other precious wealth that thou mayst have, but, O wise one, thou
shouldst declare the truth when we two are disputing about it.” Prahlada
said, “How doth that misuser of his tongue suffer, O Sudhanwan, who
answereth not truly but falsely, a question that is put to him? I ask
thee this.” Sudhanwan said, “The person that misuseth his tongue suffers
like the deserted wife, who pineth, at night, beholding her husband
sleeping in the arms of a co-wife; like a person who hath lost at dice,
or who is weighed down with an unbearable load of anxieties. Such a man
hath also to stay, starving outside the city gates, into which his
admission is barred. Indeed, he that giveth false evidence is destined to
always find his foes. He that speaketh a lie on account of an animal,
casteth down from heaven five of his sires of the ascending order. He
that speaketh a lie on account of a cow casteth down from heaven ten of
his ancestors. A lie on account of a horse causeth the downfall of a
hundred; and a lie on account of a human being, the downfall of a
thousand of one’s sires of the ascending order. An untruth on account of
gold ruineth the members of one’s race both born and unborn, while an
untruth for the sake of land ruineth everything. Therefore, never speak
an untruth for the sake of land.” Prahlada said, “Angiras is superior to
myself, and Sudhanwan is superior to thee, O Virochana. The mother also of
Sudhanwan is superior to thy mother; therefore, thou, O Virochana, hath
been defeated by Sudhanwan. This Sudhanwan is now the master of thy life.
But, O Sudhanwan, I wish that thou shouldst grant Virochana his life.”
 Sudhanwan said, “Since, O Prahlada, thou hast preferred virtue and hast
not, from temptation, said an untruth, I grant thy son his life that is
dear to thee. So here is thy son Virochana, O Prahlada, restored by me to
thee. He shall, however, have to wash my feet in the presence of the
maiden Kesini.”’

“Vidura continued, ‘For these reasons, O king of kings, it behoveth thee
not to say an untruth for the sake of land. Saying an untruth from
affection for thy son, O king, hasten not to destruction, with all thy
children and counsellors. The gods do not protect men, taking up clubs in
their hands after the manner of herdsmen; unto those, however, they wish
to protect, they grant intelligence. There is no doubt that one’s objects
meet with success in proportion to the attention he directs to
righteousness and morality. The Vedas never rescue from sin a deceitful
person living by falsehood. On the other hand, they forsake him while he
is on his death-bed, like newly fledged birds forsaking their nests.
Drinking, quarrels, enmity with large numbers of men, all connections
with connubial disputes, and severance of relationship between husband
and wife, internal dissensions, disloyalty to the king,--these and all
paths that are sinful, should, it is said, be avoided. A palmist, a thief
turned into a merchant, a fowler, a physician, an enemy, a friend, and a
minstrel, these seven are incompetent as witness. An Agnihotra performed
from motives of pride, abstention from speech, practised from similar
motives, study and sacrifice from the same motives,--these four, of
themselves innocent, become harmful when practised unduly. One that
setteth fire to a dwelling house, an administerer of poison, a pander, a
vendor of the Soma-juice, a maker of arrows, an astrologer, one that
injureth friends, an adulterer, one that causeth abortion, a violator of
his preceptor’s bed, a Brahmana addicted to drink, one that is
sharp-speeched, a raker of old sores, an atheist, a reviler of the Vedas,
and taker of bribes, one whose investiture with the sacred thread has
been delayed beyond the prescribed age, one that secretly slayeth cattle,
and one that slayeth him who prayeth for protection,--these all are
reckoned as equal in moral turpitude as the slayers of Brahmanas. Gold is
tested by fire; a well-born person, by his deportment; an honest man, by
his conduct. A brave man is tested during a season of panic; he that is
self-controlled, in times of poverty; and friends and foes, in times of
calamity and danger. Decrepitude destroyeth beauty; ambitious hopes,
patience; death, life; envy, righteousness; anger, prosperity;
companionship with the low, good behaviour; lust, modesty, and pride,
everything. Prosperity taketh its birth in good deeds, groweth in
consequence of activity, driveth its roots deep in consequence of skill,
and acquireth stability owing to self-control. Wisdom, good lineage,
self-control, acquaintance with the scriptures, prowess, absence of
garrulity, gift to the extent of one’s power, and gratefulness,--these
eight qualities shed a lustre upon their possessor. But, O sire, there is
one endowment which alone can cause all these attributes to come
together; the fact is, when the king honoureth a particular person, the
royal favour can cause all these attributes to shed their lustre (on the
favourite). Those eight, O king, in the world of men, are indications of
heaven. Of the eight (mentioned below) four are inseparably connected,
with the good, and four others are always followed by the good. The first
four which are inseparably connected with the good, are sacrifice, gift,
study and asceticism, while the other four that are always followed by
the good, are self-restraint, truth, simplicity, and abstention from
injury to all.

“‘Sacrifice, study, charity, asceticism, truth, forgiveness, mercy, and
contentment constitute the eight different paths of righteousness. The
first four of these may be practised from motives of pride, but the last
four can exist only in those that are truly noble. That is no assembly
where there are no old men, and they are not old who do not declare what
morality is. That is not morality which is separated from truth, and that
is not truth which is fraught with deceit. Truth, beauty, acquaintance
with the scriptures, knowledge, high birth, good behaviour, strength,
wealth, bravery, and capacity for varied talk,--these ten are of heavenly
origin. A sinful person, by committing sin, is overtaken by evil
consequences. A virtuous man, by practising virtue, reapeth great
happiness. Therefore, a man, rigidly resolved, should abstain from sin.
Sin, repeatedly perpetrated, destroyeth intelligence; and the man who
hath lost intelligence, repeatedly committeth sin. Virtue, repeatedly
practised, enhanceth intelligence; and the man whose intelligence hath
increased, repeatedly practiseth virtue. The virtuous man, by practising
virtue, goeth to regions of blessedness. Therefore, a man should, firmly
resolved, practise virtue. He that is envious, he that injureth others
deeply, he that is cruel, he that constantly quarreleth, he that is
deceitful, soon meeteth with great misery for practising these sins. He
that is not envious and is possessed of wisdom, by always doing what is
good, never meeteth with great misery; on the other hand, he shineth
everywhere. He that draweth wisdom from them that are wise is really
learned and wise. And he that is wise, by attending to both virtue and
profit, succeedeth in attaining to happiness. Do that during the day
which may enable thee to pass the night in happiness; and do that during
eight months of the year which may enable thee to pass the season of
rains happily. Do that during youth which may ensure a happy old age; and
do that during thy whole life here which may enable thee to live happily
hereafter. The wise prize that food which is easily digested, that wife
whose youth hath passed away, that hero who is victorious and that
ascetic whose efforts have been crowned with success. The gap that is
sought to be filled by wealth acquired wrongfully, remaineth uncovered,
while new ones appear in other places. The preceptor controlleth them
whose souls are under their own control; the king controlleth persons
that are wicked; while they that sin secretly have their controller in
Yama, the son of Vivaswat. The greatness of Rishis, of rivers, of
river-banks, of high-souled men, and the cause of woman’s wickedness,
cannot be ascertained. O king, he that is devoted to the worship of the
Brahmanas, he that giveth away, he that behaveth righteously towards his
relatives, and the Kshatriya that behaveth nobly, rule the earth for
ever. He that is possessed of bravery, he that is possessed of learning,
and he that knows how to protect others,--these three are always able to
gather flowers of gold from the earth. Of acts, those accomplished by
intelligence are first; those accomplished by the arms, second; those by
the thighs, and those by bearing weights upon the head, are the very
worst. Reposing the care of thy kingdom on Duryodhana, on Sakuni, on
foolish Dussasana, and on Karna, how canst thou hope for prosperity?
Possessed of every virtue, the Pandavas, O bull of the Bharata race,
depend on thee as their father. O, repose thou on them as on thy sons!’”


“Vidura said, ‘In this connection is cited the old story of the discourse
between the son of Atri and the deities called Sadhyas is as heard by us.
In days of old, the deities known by the name of Sadhyas questioned the
highly wise and great Rishi of rigid vows (the son of Atri), while the
latter was wandering in the guise of one depending on eleemosynary
charity for livelihood. The Sadhyas said, “We are, O great Rishi, deities
known as Sadhyas. Beholding thee, we are unable to guess who thou art. It
seemeth to us, however, that thou art possessed of intelligence and
self-control in consequence of acquaintance with the scriptures. It,
therefore, behoveth thee to discourse to us in magnanimous words fraught
with learning.” The mendicant Rishi answered, “Ye immortals, it hath been
heard by me that by untying all the knots in the heart by the aid of
tranquillity, and by mastery over all the passions, and observance of
true religion, one should regard both the agreeable and the disagreeable
like his own self. One should not return the slanders or reproaches of
others for the pain that is felt by him who beareth silently, consumeth
the slanderer; and he that beareth, succeedeth also in appropriating the
virtues of the slanderer. Indulge not in slanders and reproaches. Do not
humiliate and insult others. Quarrel not with friends. Abstain from
companionship with those that are vile and low. Be not arrogant and
ignoble in conduct. Avoid words that are harsh and fraught with anger.
Harsh words burn and scorch the very vitals, bones, heart, and the very
sources of the life of men. Therefore, he that is virtuous, should
always abstain from harsh and angry words. That worst of men is of harsh
and wrathful speech, who pierceth the vitals of others with wordy thorns,
beareth hell in his tongue, and should ever be regarded as a dispenser of
misery to men. The man that is wise, pierced by another’s wordy arrows,
sharp-pointed and smarting like fire or the sun, should, even if deeply
wounded and burning with pain, bear them patiently remembering that the
slanderer’s merits become his. He that waiteth upon one that is good or
upon one that is wicked, upon one that is possessed of ascetic merit or
upon one that is a thief, soon taketh the colour from that companion of
his, like a cloth from the dye in which it is soaked. The very gods
desire his company, who, stung with reproach, returneth it not himself
nor causeth others to return it, or who being struck doth not himself
return the blow nor causeth other to do it, and who wisheth not the
slightest injury to him that injureth him. Silence, it is said, is better
than speech; if speak you must, then it is better to say the truth; if
truth is to be said, it is better to say what is agreeable; and if what
is agreeable is to be said, then it is better to say what is consistent
with morality. A man becometh exactly like him with whom he liveth, or
like him whom he regardeth, or like that which he wisheth to be. One is
freed from those things from which one abstaineth, and if one abstaineth
from everything he hath not to suffer even the least misery. Such a man
neither vanquisheth others, nor is vanquished by others. He never
injureth nor opposeth others. He is unmoved by praise or blame. He
neither grieveth nor exalteth in joy. That man is regarded as the first
of his species who wisheth for the prosperity of all and never setteth
his heart on the misery of others, who is truthful in speech, humble in
behaviour, and hath all his passions under control. That man is regarded
as a mediocre in goodness who never consoleth others by saying what is
not true; who giveth having promised; and who keepeth an eye over the
weakness of others. These, however, are the indications of a bad man,
viz., incapacity to be controlled; liability to be afflicted by dangers;
proneness to give way to wrath, ungratefulness; inability to become
another’s friend, and wickedness of heart. He too is the worst of men,
who is dissatisfied with any good that may come to him from others who is
suspicious of his own self, and who driveth away from himself all his
true friends. He that desireth prosperity to himself, should wait upon
them that are good, and at times upon them that are indifferent, but
never upon them that are bad. He that is wicked, earneth wealth, it is
true, by putting forth his strength, by constant effort, by intelligence,
and by prowess, but he can never win honest fame, nor can he acquire the
virtues and manners of high families (in any of which he may be born).”’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘The gods, they that regard both virtue and profit
without swerving from either, and they that are possessed of great
learning, express a liking for high families. I ask thee, O Vidura, this
question,--what are those families that are called high?’

“Vidura said, ‘Asceticism, self-restraint, knowledge of the Vedas,
sacrifices, pure marriages, and gifts of food,--those families in which
these seven exist or are practised duly, are regarded as high. There are
high families who deviate not from the right course whose deceased
ancestors are never pained (by witnessing the wrong-doings of their
descendants), who cheerfully practise all the virtues, who desire to
enhance the pure fame of the line in which they are born, and who avoid
every kind of falsehood. Families that are high, fall down and become low
owing to the absence of sacrifices, impure marriages, abandonment of the
Vedas, and insults offered to Brahmanas. High families fall off and
become low owing to their members disregarding or speaking ill of
Brahmanas, or to the misappropriation, O Bharata, of what had been
deposited with them by others. Those families that are possessed of
members, wealth and kine, are not regarded as families if they be wanting
in good manners and conduct, while families wanting in wealth but
distinguished by manners and good conduct are regarded as such and win
great reputation. Therefore, should good manners and good conduct be
maintained with care, for, as regards wealth, it cometh or goeth. He that
is wanting in wealth is not really wanting, but he that is wanting in
manners and conduct is really in want. Those families that abound in kine
and other cattle and in the produce of the field are not really worthy of
regard and fame if they be wanting in manners and conduct. Let none in
our race be a fomenter of quarrels, none serve a king as minister, none
steal the wealth of others, none provoke intestine dissensions, none be
deceitful or false in behaviour, and none eat before serving the Rishis,
the gods, and guests. He, in our race, who slayeth Brahmanas, or
entertaineth feelings of aversion towards them, or impedeth or otherwise
injureth agriculture, doth not deserve to mix with us. Straw (for a
seat), ground (for sitting upon), water (to wash the feet and face), and,
fourthly sweet words,--these are never wanting in the houses of the good.
Virtuous men devoted to the practice of righteous acts, when desirous of
entertaining (guests), have these things ready for being offered with
reverence. As the Sandal tree, O king, though thin, is competent to bear
weights which timbers of other trees (much thicker) cannot; so they that
belong to high families are always able to bear the weight of great cares
which ordinary men cannot. He is no friend whose anger inspireth fear, or
who is to be waited upon with fear. He, however, on whom one can repose
confidence as on a father, is a true friend. Other friendships are
nominal connection. He that beareth himself as a friend, even though
unconnected by birth of blood, is a true friend, a real refuge, and a
protector. He, whose heart is unsteady, or who doth not wait upon the
aged, or who is of a restless disposition cannot make friends. Success
(in the attainment of objects) forsaketh the person whose heart is
unsteady, or who hath no control over his mind, or who is a slave of his
senses, like swans forsaking a tank whose waters have dried up. They that
are of weak minds suddenly give way to anger and are gratified without
sufficient cause; they are like clouds that are so inconstant. The very
birds of prey abstain from touching the dead bodies of those who having
been served and benefited by friends, show ingratitude to the latter.
Beest thou poor or beest thou rich, thou shouldst honour thy friends.
Until some service is asked, the sincerity or otherwise of friends cannot
be known. Sorrow killeth beauty; sorrow killeth strength; sorrow killeth
the understanding; and sorrow bringeth on disease. Grief, instead of
helping the acquisition of his object, drieth up the body, and maketh
one’s foes glad. Therefore, do not yield to grief. Men repeatedly die and
are reborn; repeatedly they wither away and grow; repeatedly they ask
others for help, and they themselves are asked for help; repeatedly they
lament and are lamented. Happiness and misery, plenty and want, gain and
loss, life and death, are shared by all in due order. Therefore, he that
is self-controlled should neither exult in joy nor repine in sorrow. The
six senses are always restless. Through the most predominant one amongst
them one’s understanding escapeth in proportion to the strength it
assumes, like water from a pot through its holes.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘King Yudhishthira who is like a flame of fire, has
been deceived by me. He will surely exterminate in battle all my wicked
sons. Everything, therefore, seems to me to be fraught with danger, and
my mind is full of anxiety. O thou of great intelligence, tell me such
words as may dispel my anxiety.’

“Vidura said, ‘O sinless one, in nothing else than knowledge and
asceticism, in nothing else than restraining the senses, in nothing else
than complete abandonment of avarice, do I see thy good. Fear is
dispelled by self-knowledge; by asceticism one winneth what is great and
valuable; by waiting upon superiors learning is acquired; and peace is
gained by self-restraint. They that desire salvation without having
acquired the merit attainable by gifts, or that which is attainable by
practising the ritual of the Vedas, do not sojourn through life, freed
from anger and aversion. The happiness that may be derived from a
judicious course of study, from a battle fought virtuously, from ascetic
austerities performed rigidly, always increaseth at the end. They that
are no longer in peace with their relatives, obtain no sleep even if they
have recourse to well-made beds; nor do they, O king, derive any pleasure
from women, or the laudatory hymns of bards and eulogists. Such
persons can never practise virtue. Happiness can never be theirs, in this
world. Honours can never be theirs, and peace hath no charm for them.
Counsels that are for their benefit please them not. They never acquire
what they have not, nor succeed in retaining what they have. O king,
there is no other end for such men save destruction. As milk is possible
in kine, asceticism in Brahmanas, and inconstancy in women, so fear is
possible from relatives. Numerous thin threads of equal length, collected
together, are competent to bear, from the strength of numbers, the
constant rolling of the shuttle-cock over them. The case is even so with
relatives that are good. O bull of the Bharata race, separated from one
another, burning brands produce only smoke; but brought together they
blaze forth into a powerful flame. The case is even so, O Dhritarashtra,
with relatives. They, O Dhritarashtra, who tyrannise over Brahmanas,
women, relatives, and kine, soon fall off their stalks, like fruits that
are ripe. And the tree that stands singly, though gigantic and strong and
deep-rooted, hath its trunk soon smashed and twisted by a mighty wind.
Those trees, however, that grow in close compact are competent owing to
mutual dependence to resist winds more violent still. Thus he that is
single, however, endowed with all the virtues, is regarded by foes as
capable of being vanquished like an isolated tree by the wind. Relatives,
again, in consequence of mutual dependence and mutual aid, grow together,
like lotus-stalks in a lake. These must never be slain, viz., Brahmanas,
kine, relatives, children, women, those whose food is eaten, and those
also that yield by asking for protection. O king, without wealth no good
quality can show itself in a person. If, however, thou art in health,
thou canst achieve thy good, for he is dead who is unhealthy and ill. O
king, anger is a kind of bitter, pungent, acrid, and hot drink, painful
in its consequences: it is a kind of headache not born of any physical
illness, and they that are unwise can never digest it. Do thou, O king,
swallow it up and obtain peace. They that are tortured by disease have no
liking for enjoyments, nor do they desire any happiness from wealth. The
sick, however, filled with sorrow, know not what happiness is or what the
enjoyments of wealth are. Beholding Draupadi won at dice, I told thee
before, O king, these words,--They that are honest avoid deceit in play.
Therefore, stop Duryodhana! Thou didst not, however, act according to my
words. That is not strength which is opposed to softness. On the other
hand, strength mixed with softness constitutes true policy which should
ever be pursued. That prosperity which is dependent on crookedness alone
is destined to be destroyed. That prosperity, however, which depends on
both strength and softness, descends to sons and grandsons intact. Let,
therefore, thy sons cherish the Pandavas, and the Pandavas also cherish
thy sons. O king, let the Kurus and the Pandavas, both having the same
friends and the same foes, live together in happiness and prosperity. Thou
art, today, O king, the refuge of the sons of Kuru. Indeed, the race of
Kuru, O Ajamida, is dependent on thee. O sire, preserving thy fame
unsullied, cherish thou the children of Pandu, afflicted as they are with
the sufferings of exile. O descendant of Kuru, make peace with the sons
of Pandu. Let not thy foes discover thy holes. They all, O god among men,
are devoted to truth. O king of men, withdraw Duryodhana from his evil


“Vidura said, ‘O son of Vichitravirya, Manu, the son of the Self-created,
hath, O king, spoken of the following seven and ten kinds of men, as
those that strike empty space with their fists, or seek to bend the
vapoury bow of Indra in the sky, or desire to catch the intangible rays
of the sun. These seven and ten kinds of foolish men are as follow: he
who seeketh to control a person that is incapable of being controlled; he
who is content with small gains; he who humbly pays court to enemies; he
who seeks to restrain women’s frailty; he who asketh him for gifts who
should never be asked; he who boasteth, having done anything; he who,
born in a high family, perpetrateth an improper deed; he who being weak
always wageth hostilities with one that is powerful; he who talketh to a
person listening scoffingly; he who desireth to have that which is
unattainable; he who being a father-in-law, jesteth with his
daughter-in-law; he who boasteth at having his alarms dispelled by his
daughter-in-law; he who scattereth his own seeds in another’s field; he
who speaketh ill of his own wife; he who having received anything from
another sayeth that he doth not remember it, he who, having given away
anything in words in holy places, boasteth at home when asked to make
good his words, and he who striveth to prove the truth of what is false.
The envoys of Yama, with nooses in hand, drag those persons to hell. One
should behave towards another just as that other behaveth towards him.
Even this is consistent with social polity. One may behave deceitfully
towards him that behaveth deceitfully, but honestly towards him that is
honest in his behaviour. Old age killeth beauty; patience, hope; death,
life; the practice of virtue, worldly enjoyments; lust, modesty;
companionship with the wicked, good behaviour; anger, prosperity; and
pride, everything.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Man hath been spoken of in all the Vedas as having
hundred years for the period of his life. For what reason then, do not
all men attain the allotted period?’

“Vidura said, ‘Excess of pride, excess in speech, excess in eating,
anger, the desire of enjoyment, and intestine dissensions,--these, O
king, are six sharp swords that cut off the period of life allotted to
creatures. It is these which kill men, and not death. Knowing this,
blessed be thou!’

“‘He who appropriates to himself the wife of one who hath confided in him;
he who violates the bed of his preceptor; that Brahmana, O Bharata, who
becomes the husband of a Sudra woman, or drinks wines; he who commendeth
Brahmanas or becometh their master, or taketh away the lands that support
them; and he who taketh the lives of those who yield asking for
protection, are all guilty of the sin of slaying Brahmanas. The Vedas
declare that contact with these requires expiation. He that accepts the
teaching of the wise; he that is acquainted with the rules of morality;
he that is liberal; he that eateth having first dedicated the food to the
gods and Pitris; he that envieth none; he that is incapable of doing
anything that injureth others; he that is grateful, truthful, humble and
learned, succeedeth in attaining to heaven.

“‘They are abundant, O king, that can always speak agreeable words. The
speaker, however, is rare, as also the hearer, of words that are
disagreeable but medicinal. That man who, without regarding what is
agreeable or disagreeable to his master but keeping virtue alone in view,
sayeth what is unpalatable, but medicinal, truly addeth to the strength
of the king. For the sake of the family a member may be sacrificed; for
the sake of the village, a family may be sacrificed; for the sake of a
kingdom a village may be sacrificed; and for the sake of one’s soul, the
whole earth may be sacrificed. One should protect his wealth in view of
the calamities that may overtake him; by his wealth one should protect
his wives, and by both his wealth and wives one should protect his own
self. From very olden times it hath been seen that gambling provoketh
quarrels. Therefore, he that is wise, should not resort to it even in
jest. O son of Pratipa, at the time of that gambling match I told thee, O
king--this is not proper. But, O son of Vichitravirya, like medicine to a
sick man, those words of mine were not agreeable to thee. O king, thou
desirest to vanquish the sons of Pandu, who are just as peacocks of
variegated plumage, whereas thy sons are all as crows. Forsaking lions
thou art protecting jackals! O king, when the time cometh, thou wilt have
to grieve for all this. That master, O sire, who doth not give vent to
his displeasure with devoted servants zealously pursuing his good,
enlisteth the confidence of his servants. In fact, the latter adhere to
him even in distress. By confiscating the grants to one’s servants or
stopping their pay, one should not seek to amass wealth, for even
affectionate counsellors deprived of their means of life and enjoyment,
turn against him and leave him (in distress). Reflecting first on all
intended acts and adjusting the wages and allowances of servants with his
income and expenditure, a king should make proper alliances, for there is
nothing that cannot be accomplished by alliances. That officer who fully
understanding the intentions of his royal master dischargeth all duties
with alacrity, and who is respectable himself and devoted to his master,
always telleth what is for his master’s good, and who is fully acquainted
with the extent of his own might and with that also of those against
whom he may be engaged, should be regarded by the king as his second
self. That servant, however, who commanded (by his master) disregardeth
the latter’s injunctions and who enjoined to do anything refuseth to
submit, proud as he is of his own intelligence and given to arguing
against his master, should be got rid of without the least delay. Men of
learning say that a servant should be endued with these eight qualities,
viz., absence of pride, ability, absence of procrastination, kindness,
cleanliness, incorruptibility, birth in a family free from the taint of
disease, and weightiness of speech. No man should confidently enter an
enemy’s house after dusk even with notice. One should not at night lurk
in the yard of another’s premises, nor should one seek to enjoy a woman
to whom the king himself might make love. Never set thyself against the
decision to which a person hath arrived who keepeth low company and who
is in the habit of consulting all he meeteth. Never tell him,--“I do not
believe thee,”--but assigning some reason send him away on a pretext. A
king who is exceedingly merciful, a woman of lewd character, the servant
of a king, a son, a brother, a widow having an infant son, one serving in
the army, and one that hath suffered great losses, should never be
engaged in pecuniary transactions of lending or borrowing. These eight
qualities shed a lustre on men, viz., wisdom, high lineage, acquaintance
with scriptures, self-restraint, prowess, moderation in speech, gift to
the extent of one’s power, and gratefulness. These high qualities, O
sire, are necessarily brought together by one only by gifts. When the
king favours a person, that incident (of royal favour) bringeth in all
others and holdeth them together. He that performeth ablutions winneth
these ten, viz., strength, beauty, a clear voice, capacity to utter all
the alphabetical sounds, delicacy of touch, fineness of scent,
cleanliness, gracefulness, delicacy of limbs, and beautiful women. He
that eateth sparingly winneth these six, viz., health, long life, and
ease; his progeny also becometh healthy, and nobody reproacheth him for
gluttony. One should not give shelter to these in his house, viz., one
that always acteth improperly, one that eateth too much, one that is
hated by all, one that is exceedingly deceitful, one that is cruel, one
that is ignorant of the proprieties of time and place, and one that
dresseth indecently. A person, however distressed, should never solicit a
miser for alms, or one that speaketh ill of others, or one that is
unacquainted with the shastras, or a dweller in the woods, or one that is
cunning, or one that doth not regard persons worthy of regard, or one
that is cruel, or one that habitually quarrels with others, or one that
is ungrateful. A person should never wait upon these six worst of men,
viz., one that is a foe, one that always errs, one that is wedded to
falsehood, one that is wanting in devotion to the gods, one that is
without affection, and one that always regards himself competent to do
everything. One’s purposes depend (for their success) on means; and means
are dependent, again, on the nature of the purposes (sought to be
accomplished by them). They are intimately connected with each other, so
that success depends on both. Begetting sons and rendering them
independent by making some provision for them, and bestowing maiden
daughters on eligible persons, one should retire to the woods, and desire
to live as a Muni. One should, for obtaining the favours of the Supreme
Being, do that which is for the good of all creatures as also for his own
happiness, for it is this which is the root of the successful of all
one’s objects. What anxiety hath he for a livelihood that hath
intelligence, energy, prowess, strength, alacrity and perseverance?

“‘Behold the evils of a rupture with the Pandavas which would sadden the
very gods with Sakra. These are, first, enmity between them that are all
thy sons; secondly, a life of continued anxiety; thirdly, the loss of the
fair fame of the Kurus; and lastly, the joy of those that are thy
enemies. The wrath of Bhishma, O thou of the splendour of Indra, of
Drona, and the king Yudhishthira, will consume the whole world, like a
comet of large proportions falling transversely on the earth. Thy hundred
sons and Karna and the sons of Pandu can together rule the vast earth
with the belt of the seas. O king, the Dhartarashtras constitute a forest
of which the Pandavas are, I think, tigers. O, do not cut down that
forest with its tigers! O, let not the tigers be driven from that forest!
There can be no forest without tigers, and no tigers without a forest.
The forest shelters the tigers and tigers guard the forest!’

“‘They that are sinful never seek so much to ascertain the good qualities
of others as to ascertain their faults. He that desires the highest
success in all matters connected with worldly profit, should from the
very beginning practise virtue, for true profit is never separated from
heaven. He whose soul hath been dissociated from sin and firmly fixed on
virtue, hath understood all things in their natural and adventitious
states; he that followeth virtue, profit, and desire, in proper seasons,
obtaineth, both here and hereafter, a combination of all three. He that
restraineth the force of both anger and joy, and never, O king, loseth
his senses under calamities, winneth prosperity. Listen to me, O king.
Men are said to have five different kinds of strength. Of these, the
strength of arms is regarded to be of the most inferior kind. Blessed be
thou, the acquisition of good counsellors is regarded as the second kind
of strength. The wise have said that the acquisition of wealth is the
third kind of strength. The strength of birth, O king, which one
naturally acquireth from one’s sires and grandsires, is regarded as the
fourth kind of strength. That, however, O Bharata, by which all these are
won, and which is the foremost of all kinds of strength, is called the
strength of the intellect. Having provoked the hostility of a person who
is capable of inflicting great injury on a fellow creature, one should
not gather assurance from the thought that one liveth at a distance from
the other. Who that is wise that can place his trust on women, kings,
serpents, his own master, enemies, enjoyments, and period of life? There
are no physicians nor medicines for one that hath been struck by the
arrow of wisdom. In the case of such a person neither the mantras of
homa, nor auspicious ceremonies, nor the mantras of the Atharva Veda, nor
any of the antidotes of poison, are of any efficacy. Serpents, fire,
lions, and consanguineous relatives,--none of these, O Bharata, should be
disregarded by a man; all of these are possessed of great power. Fire is
a thing of great energy in this world. It lurketh in wood and never
consumeth it till it is ignited by others. That very fire, when brought
out by friction, consumeth by its energy not only the wood in which it
lurketh, but also an entire forest and many other things. Men of high
lineage are just like fire in energy. Endued with forgiveness, they
betray no outward symptoms of wrath and are quiet like fire in wood.
Thou, O king, with thy sons art possessed of the virtue of creepers, and
the sons of Pandu are regarded as Sala trees. A creeper never groweth
unless there is a large tree to twine round. O king, O son of Ambika, thy
son is as a forest. O sire, know that the Pandavas are the lions of that
forest. Without its lions the forest is doomed to destruction, and lions
also are doomed to destruction without the forest (to shelter them).’”


“Vidura said, ‘The heart of a young man, when an aged and venerable
person cometh to his house (as a guest), soareth aloft. By advancing
forward and saluting him, he getteth it back. He that is self-controlled,
first offering a seat, and bringing water and causing his guest’s feet to
be washed and making the usual enquiries of welcome, should then speak of
his own affairs, and taking everything into consideration, offer him
food. The wise have said that man liveth in vain in whose dwelling a
Brahmana conversant with mantras doth not accept water, honey and curds,
and kine from fear of being unable to appropriate them, or from
miserliness and unwillingness with which the gifts are made. A physician,
a maker of arrows, even one that hath given up the vow of Brahmacharya
before it is complete, a thief, a crooked-minded man, a Brahmana that
drinks, one that causeth miscarriage, one that liveth by serving in the
army, and one that selleth the Vedas, when arrived as a guest, however
undeserving he may be the offer of water should be regarded (by a
householder) as exceedingly dear. A Brahmana should never be a seller of
salt, of cooked food, curds, milk, honey, oil, clarified butter, sesame,
meat, fruits, roots, potherbs, dyed clothes, all kinds of perfumery, and
treacle. He that never giveth way to anger, he that is above grief, he
that is no longer in need of friendship and quarrels, he that
disregardeth both praise and blame, and he that standeth aloof from both
what is agreeable and disagreeable, like one perfectly withdrawn from the
world, is a real Yogin of the Bhikshu order. That virtuous ascetic who
liveth on rice growing wild, or roots, or potherbs, who hath his soul
under control, who carefully keepeth his fire for worship, and dwelling
in the woods is always regardful of guests, is indeed, the foremost of
his brotherhood. Having wronged an intelligent person, one should never
gather assurance from the fact that one liveth at a distance from the
person wronged. Long are the arms which intelligent persons have, by
which they can return wrongs for wrongs done to them. One should never
put trust on him who should not be trusted, nor put too much trust on him
who should be trusted, for the danger that ariseth from one’s having
reposed trust on another cutteth off one’s very roots. One should
renounce envy, protect one’s wives, give to others what is their due, and
be agreeable in speech. One should be sweet-tongued and pleasant in his
address as regards one’s wives, but should never be their slave. It hath
been said that wives that are highly blessed and virtuous, worthy of
worship and the ornaments of their homes, are really embodiments of
domestic prosperity. They should, therefore, be protected particularly.
One should devolve the looking over of his inner apartments on his
father; of the kitchen, on his mother; of the kine, on somebody he looks
upon as his own self; but as regards agriculture, one should look over it
himself. One should look after guests of the trader-caste through his
servants, and those of the Brahmana caste through his sons. Fire hath its
origin in water; Kshatriyas in Brahmanas; and iron in stone. The energy
of those (i.e., fire, Kshatriyas, and iron) can affect all things but is
neutralised as soon as the things come in contact with their progenitors.
Fire lieth concealed in wood without showing itself externally. Good and
forgiving men born of high families and endued with fiery energy, do not
betray any outward symptoms of what is within them. That king whose
counsels cannot be known by either outsiders or those about him, but who
knoweth the counsels of others through his spies, enjoyeth his prosperity
long. One should never speak of what one intends to do. Let anything thou
doest in respect of virtue, profit, and desire, be not known till it is
done. Let counsels be not divulged. Ascending on the mountain-top or on
the terrace of a palace, or proceeding to a wilderness devoid of trees
and plants, one should, in secrecy, mature his counsels. O Bharata,
neither a friend who is without learning, nor a learned friend who hath
no control over his senses, deserveth to be a repository of state
secrets. O king, never make one thy minister without examining him well,
for a king’s finances and the keeping of his counsels both depend on his
minister. That king is the foremost of rulers, whose ministers know his
acts in respect of virtue, profit and desire, only after they are done.
The king whose counsels are kept close, without doubt, commandeth
success. He that from ignorance committeth acts that are censurable,
loseth his very life in consequence of the untoward results of those
acts. The doing of acts that are praise-worthy is always attended with
ease. Omission to do such acts leadeth to repentance. As a Brahmana
without having studied the Vedas is not fit to officiate at a Sraddha (in
honour of the Pitris), so he that hath not heard of the six (means for
protecting a kingdom) deserveth not to take part in political
deliberations. O king, he that hath an eye upon increase, decrease, and
surplus, he that is conversant with the six means and knoweth also his
own self, he whose conduct is always applauded, bringeth the whole earth
under subjection to himself. He whose anger and joy are productive of
consequences, he who looketh over personally what should be done, he who
hath his treasury under his own control, bringeth the whole earth under
subjection to himself. The king should be content with the name he wins
and the umbrella that is held over his head. He should divide the wealth
of the kingdom among these that serve him. Alone he should not
appropriate everything. A Brahmana knoweth a Brahmana, the husband
understandeth the wife, the king knoweth the minister, and monarchs know
monarchs. A foe that deserveth death, when brought under subjection
should never be set free. If one be weak one should pay court to one’s
foe that is stronger, even if the latter deserves death; but one should
kill that foe as soon as one commandeth sufficient strength, for, if not
killed, dangers soon arise from him. One should, with an effort, control
his wrath against the gods, kings, Brahmanas, old men, children, and
those that are helpless. He that is wise should avoid unprofitable
quarrels such as fools only engage in. By this one winneth great fame in
this world and avoideth misery and unhappiness. People never desire him
for a master whose grace is fruitless and whose wrath goest for nothing,
like women never desiring him for a husband who is a eunuch. Intelligence
doth not exist for the acquisition of wealth, nor is idleness the cause
of adversity; the man of wisdom only knoweth, and not others, the cause
of the diversities of condition in this world. The fool, O Bharata,
always disregardeth those that are elderly in years, and eminent in
conduct and knowledge, in intelligence, wealth, and lineage. Calamities
soon come upon them that are of wicked disposition, devoid of wisdom,
envious, or sinful, foul-tongued, and wrathful. Absence of deceitfulness,
gifts, observance of the established rules of intercourse, and speech
well-controlled, bring all creatures under subjection. He that is without
deceitfulness, he that is active, grateful, intelligent, and guileless,
even if his treasury be empty, obtaineth friends, counsellors, and
servants. Intelligence, tranquillity of mind, self-control, purity,
absence of harsh speech and unwillingness to do anything disagreeable to
friends,--these seven are regarded as the fuel of prosperity’s flame. The
wretch who doth not give to others their due, who is of wicked soul, who
is ungrateful, and shameless, should, O king, be avoided. The guilty
person who provoketh another about him that is innocent, cannot sleep
peacefully at night, like a person passing the night with a snake in the
same room. They, O Bharata, who upon being angry endanger one’s
possessions and means of acquisition, should always be propitiated like
the very gods. Those objects that depend upon women, careless persons,
men that have fallen away from the duties of their caste, and those that
are wicked in disposition, are doubtful of success. They sink helplessly,
O king, like a raft made of stone, who have a woman, a deceitful person,
or a child, for their guide. They that are competent in the general
principles of work, though not in particular kinds of work are regarded
by men as learned and wise for particular kinds of work, are subsidiary.
That man who is highly spoken of by swindlers, mimes and women of ill
fame, is more dead than alive. Forsaking these mighty bowmen of
immeasurable energy, viz., the sons of Pandu, thou hast, O Bharata,
devolved on Duryodhana, the cares of a mighty empire. Thou shalt,
therefore, soon see that swelling affluence fall off, like Vali fallen
off from the three worlds.’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Man is not the disposer of either his prosperity or
adversity. He is like a wooden doll moved by strings. Indeed, the Creator
hath made man subject to Destiny. Go on telling me, I am attentive to
what thou sayest.’

“Vidura said, ‘O Bharata, by speaking words out of season even Vrihaspati
himself incurreth reproach and the charge of ignorance, one becometh
agreeable by gift, another by sweet words, a third by the force of
incantation and drugs. He, however, that is naturally agreeable, always
remaineth so. He that is hated by another is never regarded by that other
as honest or intelligent or wise. One attributeth everything good to him
one loveth; and everything evil to him one hateth. O king, as soon as
Duryodhana was born I told thee,--thou shouldst abandon this one son, for
by abandoning him thou wouldst secure the prosperity of thy hundred
sons,--and by keeping him, destruction would overtake thy hundred sons,
that gain should never be regarded highly which leadeth to loss. On the
other hand, that loss even should be regarded highly which would bring on
gain. That is no loss, O king, which bringeth on gain. That, however,
should be reckoned as loss which is certain to bring about greater losses
still. Some become eminent in consequence of good qualities; others
become so in consequence of wealth. Avoid them, O Dhritarashtra, that are
eminent in wealth but destitute of good qualities!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘All that you sayest is approved by the wise and is
for my future good. I dare not, however, abandon my son. It is well-known
that where there is righteousness there is victory.’

“Vidura said, ‘He that is graced with every virtue and is endued with
humility, is never indifferent to even the minutest sufferings of living
creatures. They, however, that are ever employed in speaking ill of
others, always strive with activity quarrelling with one another and in
all matters, calculated to give pain to others. There is sin in accepting
gifts from, and danger in making gifts to them, whose very sight is
inauspicious and whose companionship is fraught with danger. They that
are quarrelsome, covetous, shameless, deceitful, are known to be
unrighteous, and their companionship should always be avoided. One should
also avoid those men that are endued with similar faults of a grave nature.
When the occasion that caused the friendship is over the friendship of
those that are low, the beneficial result of that connection, and the
happiness also derivable from it, all come to an end. They then strive to
speak ill of their (late) friend and endeavour to inflict loss on him, and
if the loss they sustain be even very small, for all that they, from want
of self-control, fail to enjoy peace. He that is learned, examining
everything carefully and reflecting well, should, from a distance, avoid
the friendship of vile and wicked-minded persons such as these. He that
helpeth his poor and wretched and helpless relatives, obtain children and
animals and enjoyeth prosperity that knoweth no end. They that desire
their own benefit should always succour their relatives. By every means,
therefore, O king, do thou seek the growth of thy race. Prosperity will
be thine, O Monarch, if thou behavest well towards all thy relatives.
Even relatives that are destitute of good qualities should be protected.
O bull of the Bharata race, how much more, therefore, should they be
protected that are endued with every virtue and are humbly expectant of
thy favours? Favour thou the heroic sons of Pandu, O monarch, and let a
few villages be assigned to them for their maintenance. By acting thus, O
king, fame will be thine in this world. Thou art old; thou shouldst,
therefore, control thy sons. I should say what is for thy good. Know me
as one that wishes well to thee. He that desireth his own good should
never quarrel, O sire, with his relatives. O bull of the Bharata race,
happiness should ever be enjoyed with one’s relatives, and not without
them, to eat with one another, to talk with one another, and to love one
another, are what relatives should always do. They should never quarrel.
In this world it is the relatives that rescue, and the relatives that
ruin (relatives). Those amongst them that are righteous rescue; while
those that are unrighteous sink (their brethren). O king, be thou, O
giver of honours, righteous in thy conduct towards the sons of Pandu.
Surrounded by them, thou wouldst be unconquerable by thy foes. If a
relative shrinks in the presence of a prosperous relative, like a deer at
sight of a hunter armed with arrows, then the prosperous relative hath to
take upon himself all the sins of the other. O best of men, repentance
will be thine (for this thy inaction at present) when in future thou wilt
hear of the death of either the Pandavas or thy sons. O, think of all
this. When life itself is unstable, one should in the very beginning
avoid that act in consequence of which one would have to indulge in
regrets having entered the chamber of woe. True it is that a person other
than Bhargava, the author of the science of morality is liable to commit
actions that go against morality. It is seen, however, that a just notion
of consequence is present in all persons of intelligence. Thou art an
aged scion of Kuru’s race. If Duryodhana inflicted these wrongs on the
sons of Pandu, it is thy duty, O king of men, to undo them all.
Re-instating them in their position, thou wilt, in this world, be
cleansed of all thy sins and be, O king of men, an object of worship with
even those that have their souls under control. Reflecting on the
well-spoken words of the wise according to their consequences, he that
engageth in acts never loseth fame. The knowledge imparted by even men of
learning and skill is imperfect, for that which is sought to be
inculcated is ill-understood, or, if understood, is not accomplished in
practice. That learned person who never doth an act, the consequences of
which are sin and misery, always groweth (in prosperity). The person,
however, of wicked soul, who from folly pursueth his sinful course
commenced before falleth into a slough of deep mire. He that is wise
should ever keep in view the (following) six conduits by which counsels
become divulged, and he that desireth success and a long dynasty should
ever guard himself from those six. They are, intoxication, sleep,
inattention to spies, set over one by another, one’s own demeanour as
dependent on the working of one’s own heart, confidence reposed on a
wicked counsellor, and unskilful envoys. Knowing these six doors (through
which counsels are divulged), he that keepeth them shut while pursuing
the attainment of virtue, profit, and desire, succeedeth in standing over
the heads of his foes. Without an acquaintance with the scriptures and
without waiting upon the old, neither virtue nor profit can be known (or
won) by persons blessed even with the intelligence of Vrihaspati. A thing
is lost if cast into the sea; words are lost if addressed to one that
listens not; the scriptures are lost on one that hath not his soul under
control; and a libation of clarified butter is lost if poured over the
ashes left by a fire that is extinguished. He that is endued with the
intelligence maketh friendships with those that are wise, having first
examined by the aid of his intelligence, repeatedly searching by his
understanding, and using his ears, eyes, and judgment. Humility removeth
obloquy, ears, failure, prowess; forgiveness always conquereth anger; and
auspicious rites destroy all indications of evil. One’s lineage, O king,
is tested by his objects of enjoyment, place of birth, house, behaviour,
food, and dress. When an object of enjoyment is available, even that one
who hath attained emancipation is not unwilling to enjoy; what, again,
need be said of him that is yet wedded to desire? A king should cherish a
counsellor that worshippeth persons of wisdom, is endued with learning,
virtue, agreeable appearance, friends, sweet speech, and a good heart.
Whether of low or high birth, he who doth not transgress the rules of
polite intercourse, who hath an eye on virtue, who is endued with
humility and modesty, is superior to a hundred persons of high birth. The
friendship of those persons never cooleth, whose hearts, secret pursuits,
and pleasures, and acquirements, accord in every respect. He that is
intelligent should avoid an ignorant person of wicked soul, like a pit
whose mouth is covered with grass, for friendship with such a person can
never last. The man of wisdom should never contract friendship with those
that are proud, ignorant, fierce, rash and fallen off from righteousness.
He that is grateful, virtuous, truthful, large-hearted, and devoted, and
he that hath his senses under control, preserveth his dignity, and never
forsaketh a friend, should be desired for a friend. The withdrawal of the
senses from their respective objects is equivalent to death itself. Their
excessive indulgence again would ruin the very gods. Humility, love of
all creatures, forgiveness, and respect for friends,--these, the learned
have said, lengthen life. He who with a firm resolution striveth to
accomplish by a virtuous policy purposes that have once been frustrated,
is said to possess real manhood. That man attaineth all his objects, who
is conversant with remedies to be applied in the future, who is firmly
resolved in the present, and who could anticipate in the past how an act
begun would end. That which a man pursueth in word, deed, and thought,
winneth him for its own; therefore, one should always seek that which is
for his good. Effort after securing what is good, the properties of time,
place, and means, acquaintance with the scriptures, activity,
straightforwardness, and frequent meetings with those that are
good,--these bring about prosperity. Perseverance is the root of
prosperity, of gain, and of what is beneficial. The man that pursueth an
object with perseverance and without giving it up in vexation, is really
great, and enjoyeth happiness that is unending. O sire, there is nothing
more conducive of happiness and nothing more proper for a man of power
and energy as forgiveness in every place and at all times. He that is
weak should forgive under all circumstances. He that is possessed of
power should show forgiveness from motives of virtue; and he, to whom the
success or failure of his objects is the same, is naturally forgiving.
That pleasure the pursuit of which doth not injure one’s virtue and
profit, should certainly be pursued to one’s fill. One should not,
however, act like a fool by giving free indulgence to his senses.
Prosperity never resides in one who suffers himself to be tortured by a
grief, who is addicted to evil ways, who denies Godhead, who is idle, who
hath not his senses under control, and who is divested of exertion. The
man that is humble, and who from humility is modest is regarded as weak
and persecuted by persons of misdirected intelligence. Prosperity never
approacheth from fear the person that is excessively liberal, that giveth
away without measure, that is possessed of extraordinary bravery, that
practiseth the most rigid vows, and that is very proud of his wisdom.
Prosperity doth not reside in one that is highly accomplished, nor in one
that is without any accomplishment. She doth not desire a combination of
all the virtues, nor is she pleased with the total absence of all
virtues. Blind, like a mad cow, prosperity resides with some one who is
not remarkable. The fruits of the Vedas are ceremonies performed before
the (homa) fire; the fruits of an acquaintance with the scriptures are
goodness of disposition and conduct. The fruits of women are the
pleasures of intercourse and offspring; and the fruits of wealth are
enjoyment and charity. He that performeth acts tending to secure his
prosperity in the other world with wealth acquired sinfully, never
reapeth the fruits of these acts in the other world, in consequence of
the sinfulness of the acquisitions (spent for the purpose). In the midst
of deserts, or deep woods, or inaccessible fastnesses, amid all kinds of
dangers and alarms or in view of deadly weapons upraised for striking
him, he that hath strength of mind entertaineth no fear. Exertion,
self-control, skill, carefulness, steadiness, memory, and commencement of
acts after mature deliberation,--know that these are the roots of
prosperity. Austerities constitute the strength of ascetics; the Vedas
are the strength of those conversant with them; in envy lieth the
strength of the wicked; and in forgiveness, the strength of the virtuous.
These eight, viz., water, roots, fruits, milk, clarified butter (what is
done at) the desire of a Brahmana, (or at) the command of a preceptor,
and medicine, are not destructive of a vow. That which is antagonistic to
one’s own self, should never be applied in respect of another. Briefly
even this is virtue. Other kinds of virtue there are, but these proceed
from caprice. Anger must be conquered by forgiveness; and the wicked must
be conquered by honesty; the miser must be conquered by liberality, and
falsehood must be conquered by truth. One should not place trust on a
woman, a swindler, an idle person, a coward, one that is fierce, one that
boasts of his own power, a thief, an ungrateful person, and an atheist.
Achievements, period of life, fame, and power--these four always expand
in the case of him that respectfully saluteth his superiors and waiteth
upon the old. Do not set thy heart after these objects which cannot be
acquired except by very painful exertion, or by sacrificing
righteousness, or by bowing down to an enemy. A man without knowledge is
to be pitied; an act of intercourse that is not fruitful is to be pitied;
the people of a kingdom that are without food are to be pitied; and a
kingdom without a king is to be pitied. These constitute the source of
pain and weakness to embodied creatures: the rains, decay of hills and
mountains; absence of enjoyment; anguish of women; and wordy arrows of
the heart. The scum of the Vedas is want of study; of Brahmanas, absence
of vows; of the Earth, the Vahlikas; of man, untruth; of the chaste
woman, curiosity; of women, exile from home. The scum of gold is silver;
of silver, tin; of tin, lead; and of lead, useless dross. One cannot
conquer sleep by lying down; women by desire; fire by fuel; and wine by
drinking. His life is, indeed, crowned with success who hath won his
friends by gifts, his foes in battle, and wife by food and drink; they
who have thousands live; they, who have hundreds, also live. O
Dhritarashtra, forsake desire. There is none who cannot manage to live by
some means or other. Thy paddy, wheat, gold, animals, and women that are
on earth all cannot satiate even one person. Reflecting on this, they
that are wise never grieve for want of universal dominion. O king, I
again tell thee, adopt an equal conduct towards thy children, i.e.,
towards the sons of Pandu and thy own sons.’”


“Vidura said, ‘Worshipped by the good and abandoning pride, that good man
who pursueth his objects without outstepping the limits of his power,
soon succeedeth in winning fame, for they that are good, when gratified
with a person, are certainly competent to bestow happiness on him. He
that forsaketh, of his own accord, even a great object owing to its being
fraught with unrighteousness, liveth happily, casting off all foes, like
a snake that hath cast off its slough. A victory gained by an untruth,
deceitful conduct towards the king, and insincerity of intentions
expressed before the preceptor,--these three are each equal to the sin of
slaying a Brahmana. Excessive envy, death, and boastfulness, are the
causes of the destruction of prosperity. Carelessness in waiting upon a
preceptor, haste, and boastlessness, are the three enemies of knowledge.
Idleness, inattention, confusion of the intellect, restlessness,
gathering for killing time, haughtiness, pride, and covetousness,--these
seven constitute, it is said, the faults of students in the pursuit of
learning. How can they that desire pleasure have knowledge? Students,
again, engaged in the pursuit of learning, cannot have pleasure. Votaries
of pleasure must give up knowledge, and votaries of knowledge must give
up pleasure. Fire is never gratified with fuel (but can consume any
measure thereof). The great ocean is never gratified with the rivers it
receives (but can receive any number of them). Death is never gratified
even with entire living creatures. A beautiful woman is never gratified
with any number of men (she may have). O king, hope killeth patience;
Yama killeth growth; anger killeth prosperity; miserliness killeth fame;
absence of tending killeth cattle; one angry Brahmana destroyeth a whole
kingdom. Let goats, brass, silver, honey, antidotes of poison, birds,
Brahmanas versed in the Vedas, old relatives, and men of high birth sunk
in poverty, be always present in thy house. O Bharata, Manu hath said
that goats, bulls, sandal, lyres, mirrors, honey, clarified butter, iron,
copper, conch-shells, salagram (the stony-image of Vishnu with gold
within) and gorochana should always be kept in one’s house for the
worship of the gods. Brahmanas, and guests, for all those objects are
auspicious. O sire, I would impart to thee another sacred lesson
productive of great fruits, and which is the highest of all teachings,
viz., virtue should never be forsaken from desire, fear, or temptation,
nay, nor for the sake of life itself. Virtue is everlasting; pleasure and
pain are transitory; life is, indeed, everlasting but its particular
phases are transitory. Forsaking those which are transitory, betake
thyself to that which is everlasting, and let contentment be thine, for
contentment is the highest of all acquisitions. Behold, illustrious and
mighty kings, having ruled lands abounding with wealth and corn, have
become the victims of the Universal Destroyer, leaving behind their
kingdoms and vast sources of enjoyment. The son brought up with anxious
care, when dead, is taken up and carried away by men (to the burning
ground). With the dishevelled hair and crying piteously, they then cast
the body into the funeral pyre, as if it were a piece of wood. Others
enjoy the deceased’s wealth, while birds and fire feast on the elements
of his body. With two only he goeth to the other world, viz., his merits
and his sins which keep him company. Throwing away the body, O sire,
relatives, friends, and sons retrace their steps, like birds abandoning
trees without blossoms and fruits. The person cast into the funeral pyre
is followed only by his own acts. Therefore, should men carefully and
gradually earn the merit of righteousness. In the world above this, and
also in that below this, there are regions of great gloom and darkness.
Know, O king, that those are regions where the senses of men are
exceedingly afflicted. Oh, let not any of those places be thine.
Carefully listening to these words, if thou canst act according to them,
thou wilt obtain great fame in this world of men, and fear will not be
thine here or hereafter. O Bharata, the soul is spoken of as a river;
religious merit constitutes its sacred baths; truth, its water;
self-control, its banks; kindness, its waves. He that is righteous
purifieth himself by a bath therein, for the soul is sacred, and the
absence of desire is the highest merit. O king, life is a river whose
waters are the five senses, and whose crocodiles and sharks are desire
and anger. Making self-control thy raft, cross thou its eddies which are
represented by repeated births! Worshipping and gratifying friends that
are eminent in wisdom, virtue, learning, and years, he that asketh their
advice about what he should do and should not do, is never misled. One
should restrain one’s lust and stomach by patience; one’s hands and feet
by one’s eyes; one’s eyes and ears by one’s mind; and one’s mind and
words by one’s acts. That Brahmana who never omitteth to perform his
ablutions, who always weareth his sacred thread, who always attendeth to
the study of the Vedas, who always avoideth food that is unclean, who
telleth the truth and performeth acts in honour of his preceptor, never
falleth off from the region of Brahma. Having studied the Vedas, poured
libations into fire, performed sacrifices, protected subjects, sanctified
his soul by drawing weapons for protecting kine and Brahmanas, and died
on the field of battle, the Kshatriya attaineth to heaven. Having studied
the Vedas, and distributed in proper time, his wealth among Brahmanas,
Kshatriyas, and his own dependents, and inhaled the sanctified smoke of
the three kinds of fires, the Vaisya enjoyeth heavenly bliss in the other
world. Having properly worshipped Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas in
due order, and having burnt his sins, by gratifying them, and then
peacefully casting off his body, the Sudra enjoyeth the bliss of heaven.
The duties of the four orders are thus set forth before thee. Listen now
to the reason of my speech as I discourse it. Yudhishthira, the son of
Pandu, is falling off from the duties of the Kshatriya order. Place him,
therefore, O king, in a position to discharge the duties of kings.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘It is even so as thou always teachest me. O amiable
one, my heart also inclineth that very way of which thou tellest me.
Although, however, I incline in my mind towards the Pandavas even as thou
teachest me to do, yet as soon as I come in contact with Duryodhana it
turneth off in a different way. No creature is able to avert fate.
Indeed, Destiny, I think, is certain to take its course; individual
exertion is futile.’”


(Sanat-sujata Parva)

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘If there is anything still left unsaid by thee, O
Vidura, say it then, as I am ready to listen to thee. The discourse is,
indeed, charming.’

“Vidura said, ‘O Dhritarashtra, O thou of the Bharata race, that ancient
and immortal Rishi Sanat-sujata who, leading a life of perpetual celibacy,
hath said that there is no Death,--that foremost of all intelligent
persons,--will expound to thee all the doubts, in thy mind, both
expressed and unexpressed.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Dost thou not know what that immortal Rishi will
say unto me? O Vidura, do thou say it, if indeed, thou hast that degree
of wisdom.’

“Vidura said, ‘I am born in the Sudra order and, therefore, do not
venture to say more than what I have already said. The understanding,
however, of that Rishi leading a life of celibacy, is regarded by me to
be infinite. He that is a Brahmana by birth, by discoursing on even the
profoundest mysteries, never incurreth the censure of the gods. It is for
this alone that I do not discourse to thee, upon the subject.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Tell me, O Vidura, how with this body of mine I can
meet with that ancient and immortal one?’”

Vaisampayana said, “Then Vidura began to think of that Rishi of rigid
vows. And knowing that he was thought of, the Rishi, O Bharata, showed
himself there. Vidura then received him with the rites prescribed by
ordinance. And when, having rested a while, the Rishi was seated at his
ease, Vidura addressed him, saying, ‘O illustrious one, there is a doubt
in Dhritarashtra’s mind which is incapable of being explained away by me.
It behooveth thee, therefore, to expound it, so that listening to thy
discourse, this chief of men may tide over all this sorrows, and to that
gain and loss, what is agreeable and what disagreeable, decrepitude and
death, fright and jealously, hunger and thirst, pride and prosperity,
dislike, sleep, lust and wrath, and decrease and increase may all be
borne by him!’”


Vaisampayana said, “Then the illustrious and wise king Dhritarashtra,
having applauded the words spoken by Vidura, questioned Sanat-sujata in
secret, desirous of obtaining the highest of all knowledge. And the king
questioned the Rishi saying, ‘O Sanat-sujata, I hear that thou art of the
opinion that there is no Death. Again it is said that the gods and the
Asuras, practise ascetic austerities in order to avoid death. Of these
two opinions, then, which is true?’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘Some say, death is avertable by particular acts; in
others’ opinion there is no death; thou hast asked me which of these is
true. Listen to me, O king, as I discourse to thee on this, so that thy
doubts may be removed. Know, O Kshatriya, that both of these are true.
The learned are of opinion that death results from ignorance. I say that
ignorance is Death, and so the absence of ignorance (Knowledge) is
immortality. It is from ignorance that the Asuras became subject to
defeat and death, and it is from the absence of ignorance that the gods
have attained the nature of Brahman. Death doth not devour creatures like
a tiger; its form itself is unascertainable. Besides this, some imagine
Yama to be Death. This, however, is due to the weakness of the mind. The
pursuit of Brahman or self-knowledge is immortality. That (imaginary) god
(Yama) holdeth his sway in the region of the Pitris, being the source of
bliss to the virtuous and of woe to the sinful. It is at his command that
death in the form of wrath, ignorance, and covetousness, occurreth among
men. Swayed by pride, men always walk in unrighteous path. None amongst
them succeeds in attaining to his real nature. With their understanding
clouded, and themselves swayed by their passions, they cast off their
bodies and repeatedly fall into hell. They are always followed by their
senses. It is for this that ignorance receives the name of death. Those
men that desire the fruits of action when the time cometh for enjoying
those fruits, proceed to heaven, casting off their bodies. Hence they
cannot avoid death. Embodied creatures, from inability to attain the
knowledge of Brahman and from their connection with earthly enjoyments,
are obliged to sojourn in a cycle of re-births, up and down and around.
The natural inclination of man towards pursuits that are unreal is alone
the cause of the senses being led to error. The soul that is constantly
affected by the pursuit of objects that are unreal, remembering only that
with which it is always engaged, adoreth only earthly enjoyments that
surround it. The desire of enjoyments first killeth men. Lust and wrath
soon follow behind it. These three, viz., the desire of enjoyments, lust,
and wrath, lead foolish men to death. They, however, that have conquered
their souls, succeed by self-restraint, to escape death. He that hath
conquered his soul without suffering himself to be excited by his
ambitious desire, conquereth these, regarding them as of no value, by the
aid of self-knowledge. Ignorance, assuming the form of Yama, cannot
devour that learned man who controlled his desires in this manner. That
man who followeth his desires is destroyed along with his desires. He,
however, that can renounce desire, can certainly drive away all kinds of
woe. Desire is, indeed, ignorance and darkness and hell in respect of all
creatures, for swayed by it they lose their senses. As intoxicated
persons in walking along a street reel towards ruts and holes, so men
under the influence of desire, misled by deluding joys, run towards
destruction. What can death do to a person whose soul hath not been
confounded or misled by desire? To him, death hath no terrors, like a
tiger made of straw. Therefore, O Kshatriya, if the existence of desire,
which is ignorance, is to be destroyed, no wish, not even the slightest
one, is either to be thought of or pursued. That soul, which is in thy
body, associated as it is with wrath and covetousness and filled with
ignorance, that is death. Knowing that death arises in this way, he that
relies on knowledge, entertaineth no fear of death. Indeed, as the body
is destroyed when brought under the influence of death, so death itself
is destroyed when it comes under the influence of knowledge.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘The Vedas declare the emancipating capacity of
those highly sacred and eternal regions, that are said to be obtainable
by the regenerate classes by prayers and sacrifices. Knowing this, why
should not a learned person have recourse to (religious) acts?’ [3]

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘Indeed, he that is without knowledge proceedeth
thither by the path indicated by thee, and the Vedas also declare that
thither are both bliss and emancipation. But he that regardeth the
material body to be self, if he succeeds in renouncing desire, at once
attaineth emancipation (or Brahman). If, however, one seeketh
emancipation without renouncing desire, one must have to proceed along
the (prescribed) route of action, taking care to destroy the chances of
his retracing the routes that he hath once passed over.’[4]

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Who is it that urgeth that Unborn and Ancient One?
If, again, it is He that is all this Universe in consequence of His
having entered everything (without desire as He is) what can be His
action, or his happiness? O learned sage, tell me all this truly.’[5]

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘There is great objection in completely identifying
(as here) the two that are different creatures always spring from the
union of Conditions (with what in its essence is without Conditions).
This view doth not detract from the supremacy of the Unborn and the
Ancient One. As for men, they also originate in the union of Conditions.
All this that appears is nothing but that everlasting Supreme Soul.
Indeed, the universe is created by the Supreme Soul itself undergoing
transformations. The Vedas do attribute this power (of
self-transformation) to the Supreme Soul. For the identity, again, of the
power and its possessor, both the Vedas and others are the authority.’[6]

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘In this world, some practise virtue, and some
renounce action or Karma (adopting what is called Sannyasa Yoga).
(Respecting those that practise virtue) I ask, is virtue competent to
destroy vice, or is it itself destroyed by vice?’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘The fruits of virtue and of (perfect) inaction are
both serviceable in that respect (i.e., for procuring emancipation).
Indeed, both are sure means for the attainment of emancipation. The man,
however, that is wise, achieveth success by knowledge (inaction). On the
other hand, the materialist acquireth merit (by action) and (as the
consequence thereof) emancipation. He hath also (in course of his
pursuit) to incur sin. Having obtained again fruits of both virtue and
vice which are transitory, (heaven having its end as also hell in respect
of the virtuous and the sinful), the man of action becometh once more
addicted to action as the consequence of his own previous virtues and
vices. The man of action, however, who possesseth intelligence,
destroyeth his sins by his virtuous acts. Virtue, therefore, is strong,
and hence the success of the man of action.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Tell me, according to their gradation, of those
eternal regions that are said to be attainable, as the fruits of their
own virtuous acts, by regenerate persons, engaged in the practice of
virtue. Speak unto me of others’ regions also of a similar kind. O
learned sire, I do not wish to hear of actions (towards which man’s heart
naturally inclineth, however interdicted or sinful they may be).’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘Those regenerate persons that take pride in their
Yoga practices, like strong men in their own strength, departing hence,
shine in the region of Brahman. Those regenerate persons that proudly
exert in performing sacrifices and other Vedic rites, as the fruit of
that knowledge which is theirs, in consequence of those acts, freed from
this world, proceed to that region which is the abode of the deities.
There are others, again, conversant with the Vedas, who are of opinion
that the performance of the sacrifices and rites (ordained by the Vedas)
is obligatory (their non-performance being sinful). Wedded to external
forms, though seeking the development of the inner self (for they
practise these rites for only virtue’s sake and not for the
accomplishment of particular aims), these persons should not be regarded
very highly (although some respect should be theirs). Wherever, again,
food and drink worthy of a Brahmana are abundant, like grass and reeds in
a spot during the rainy season, there should the Yogin seek for his
livelihood (without afflicting the householder of scanty means); by no
means should he afflict his own self by hunger and thirst. In a place,
where there may be both inconvenience and danger to one, for one’s
aversion, to disclose one’s superiority, he that doth not proclaim his
superiority is better than he that doth. The food offered by that person
who is not pained at the sight of another disclosing his superiority, and
who never eateth without offering the prescribed share to Brahmanas and
guests, is approved by the righteous. As a dog oftentimes devoureth its
own evacuations to its injury, so those Yogins devour their own vomit who
procure their livelihood by disclosing their pre-eminence. The wise know
him for a Brahmana, who, living in the midst of kindred, wishes his
religious practices to remain always unknown to them. What other Brahmana
deserveth to know the Supreme Soul, that is unconditioned, without
attributes, unchangeable, one and alone, and without duality of any kind?
In consequence of such practices, a Kshatriya can know the Supreme Soul
and behold it in his own soul. He that regardeth the Soul to be the
acting and feeling Self,--what sins are not committed by that thief who
robbeth the soul of its attributes? A Brahmana should be without
exertion, should never accept gifts, should win the respect of the
righteous, should be quiet, and though conversant with the Vedas should
seem to be otherwise, for then only may he attain to knowledge and know
Brahman. They that are poor in earthly but rich in heavenly wealth and
sacrifices, become unconquerable and fearless, and they should be
regarded as embodiments of Brahman. That person even, in this world, who
(by performing sacrifices) succeedeth in meeting with the gods that
bestow all kinds of desirable objects (on performers of sacrifices), is
not equal to him that knoweth Brahman for the performer of sacrifices
hath to undergo exertions (while he that knoweth Brahman attaineth to Him
without such exertions). He was said to be really honoured, who,
destitute of actions, is honoured by the deities. He should never regard
himself as honoured who is honoured by others. One should not, therefore,
grieveth when one is not honoured by others. People act according to
their nature just as they open and shut their eyelids; and it is only the
learned that pay respect to others. The man that is respected should
think so. They again, in this world, that are foolish, apt to sin, and
adepts in deceit, never pay respect to those that are worthy of respect;
on the other hand, they always show disrespect to such persons. The
world’s esteem and asceticism (practices of Mauna), can never exist
together. Know that this world is for those that are candidates for
esteem, while the other world is for those that are devoted to
asceticism. Here, in this world, O Kshatriya, happiness (the world’s
esteem) resides in worldly prosperity. The latter, however, is an
impediment (to heavenly bliss). Heavenly prosperity, on the other hand,
is unattainable by one that is without true wisdom. The righteous say
that there are various kinds of gates, all difficult of being guarded,
for giving access to the last kind of prosperity. These are truth,
uprightness, modesty, self-control, purity of mind and conduct and
knowledge (of the Vedas). These six are destructive of vanity and


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘What is the object of asceticism (mauna)? Of the
two kinds of mauna (viz., the restraining of speech and meditation),
which is approved by thee? O learned one, tell me the true aspect of
mauna. Can a person of learning attain to a state of quietude and
emancipation (moksha) by that mauna? O Muni, how also is asceticism
(mauna) to be practised here?’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘Since the Supreme Soul cannot be penetrated by both
the Vedas and the mind, it is for this that Soul itself is called mauna.
That from which both the Vedic syllable Om and this one (ordinary sounds)
have arisen, that One, O king, is displayed as the Word.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Is he that knoweth both the Rig and the Yajus
Vedas, is he that knoweth the Sama Veda, sullied by sins or not when he
commiteth sins?’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘I tell thee truly that the man that hath not
restrained his senses is not rescued from his sinful acts by either the
Sama or the Rig, or the Yajus Veda. The Vedas never rescue from sin the
deceitful person living by deceit. On the other hand, like newfledged
birds forsaking their nest, the Vedas forsake such a person at the end.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O thou that hast restrained thy senses, if, indeed,
the Vedas are not competent to rescue a person without the aid of virtue,
whence then is this delusion of the Brahmanas that the Vedas are always
destructive of sins?’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘O magnanimous one, this universe hath sprung from
that Supreme Soul by the union of Conditions respecting name, form, and
other attributes. The Vedas also, pointing it out duly, declare the same,
and inculcate that the Supreme Soul and the universe are different and
not identical. It is for attaining to that Supreme Soul that asceticism
and sacrifices are ordained, and it is by these two that the man of
learning earneth virtue. Destroying sin by virtue, his soul is
enlightened by knowledge. The man of knowledge, by the aid of knowledge,
attaineth to the Supreme Soul. Otherwise, he that coveteth the four
objects of human pursuit, taking with him all that he doth here, enjoyeth
their fruits hereafter, and (as those fruits) are not everlasting cometh
back to the region of action (when the enjoyment is over). Indeed, the
fruits of ascetic austerities performed in this world have to be enjoyed
in the other world (as regards those persons who have not obtained the
mastery of their souls). As regards those Brahmanas employed in ascetic
practices (who have the mastery of their souls), even these regions are
capable of yielding fruits.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O Sanat-sujata, how can ascetic austerities which
are all of the same kind, be sometimes successful and sometimes
unsuccessful? Tell us this in order that we may know it!’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘That asceticism which is not stained by (desire and
other) faults is said to be capable of procuring emancipation, and is,
therefore, successful, while the asceticism that is stained by vanity and
want of true devotion is regarded as unsuccessful. All thy enquiries, O
Kshatriya, touch the very root of asceticism. It is by asceticism that
they that are learned, know Brahman and win immortality!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I have listened to what thou hast said about
asceticism unstained by faults, and by which I have succeeded in knowing
an eternal mystery. Tell me now, O Sanat-sujata, about asceticism that is
stained by faults!’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘O king, the twelve, including anger, as also the
thirteen kinds of wickedness, are the faults of asceticism that is
stained. Anger, lust, avarice, ignorance of right and wrong, discontent,
cruelty, malice, vanity, grief, love of pleasure, envy, and speaking ill
of others, are generally the faults of human beings. These twelve should
always be avoided by men. Any one amongst these can singly effect the
destruction of men, O bull among men. Indeed, every one of these wait for
opportunity in respect of men, like a hunter expectant of opportunities
in respect of deer. Assertion of one’s own superiority, desire of
enjoying others’ wives, humiliating others from excess of pride,
wrathfulness, fickleness, and refusing to maintain those worthy of being
maintained, these six acts of wickedness are always practised by sinful
men defying all dangers here and hereafter. He that regards the
gratification of lust to be one of life’s aims, he that is exceedingly
proud, he that grieves having given away, he that never spends money, he
that persecutes his subjects by exacting hateful taxes, he that delights
in the humiliation of others, and he that hates his own wives,--these
seven are others that are also called wicked. Righteousness, truth
(abstention from injury and truthfulness of speech), self-restraint,
asceticism, delight in the happiness of others, modesty, forbearance,
love of others, sacrifices, gifts, perseverance, knowledge of the
scriptures,--these twelve constitute the practices of Brahmanas. He that
succeeds in acquiring these twelve, becomes competent to sway the entire
earth. He that is endued with three, two, or even one, of these, should
be regarded of heavenly prosperity. Self-restraint, renunciation, and
knowledge of Self,--in these are emancipation. Those Brahmanas that are
endued with wisdom, say that these are attributes in which truth
predominates. Self-restraint is constituted by eighteen virtues. Breaches
and non-observance of ordained acts and omissions, falsehood, malice,
lust, wealth, love of (sensual) pleasure, anger, grief, thirst, avarice,
deceit, joy in the misery of others, envy, injuring others, regret,
aversion from pious acts, forgetfulness of duty, calumniating others, and
vanity--he that is freed from these (eighteen) vices is said by the
righteous to be self-restrained. The eighteen faults (that have been
enumerated) constitute what is called mada or pride. Renunciation is of
six kinds. The reverse of those six again are faults called mada. (The
faults, therefore, that go by the name of mada are eighteen and six). The
six kinds of renunciation are all commendable. The third only is
difficult of practice, but by that all sorrow is overcome. Indeed, if
that kind of renunciation be accomplished in practice, he that
accomplishes it overcomes all the pairs of contraries in the world.

“‘The six kinds of renunciation are all commendable. They are these: The
first is never experiencing joy on occasions of prosperity. The second is
the abandonment of sacrifices, prayers, and pious acts. That which is
called the third, O king, is the abandonment of desire or withdrawing
from the world. Indeed, it is in consequence of this third kind of
renunciation of desire, which is evidenced by the abandonment of all
objects of enjoyment (without enjoying them) and not their abandonment
after having enjoyed them to the fill, nor by abandonment after
acquisition, nor by abandonment only after one has become incompetent to
enjoy from loss of appetite. The fourth kind of renunciation consists in
this: One should not grieve nor suffer his self to be afflicted by grief
when one’s actions fail, notwithstanding one’s possession of all the
virtues and all kinds of wealth. Or, when anything disagreeable happens,
one feeleth no pain. The fifth kind of renunciation consists in not
soliciting even one’s sons, wives, and others that may all be very dear.
The sixth kind consists in giving away to a deserving person who
solicits, which act of gifts is always productive of merit. By these
again, one acquires the knowledge of Self. As regards this last
attribute, it involves eight qualities. These are truth, meditation,
distinction of subject and object, capacity for drawing inferences,
withdrawal from the world, never taking what belongeth to others, the
practices of Brahmacharya vows (abstinence), and non-acceptance (of

“‘So also the attribute of mada (the opposite of dama or self-restraint)
hath faults which have all been indicated (in the scriptures). These
faults should be avoided. I have spoken (to thee) of renunciation and
self-knowledge. And as self-Knowledge hath eight virtues, so the want of
it hath eight faults. Those faults should be avoided. O Bharata, he that
is liberated from this five senses, mind, the past and the future,
becomes happy. O king, let thy soul be devoted to truth; all the worlds
are established on truth; indeed, self-control, renunciation, and
self-knowledge are said to have truth for their foremost attribute.
Avoiding (these) faults, one should practise asceticism here. The
Ordainer hath ordained that truth alone should be the vow of the
righteous. Asceticism, that is dissociated from these faults and endued
with these virtues, becomes the source of great prosperity. I have now
briefly told this about that sin-destroying and sacred subject which
thou hadst asked me and which is capable of liberating a person from
birth, death, and decrepitude.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘With Akhyana (Puranas) as their fifth, the Vedas
declare the Supreme Soul to be this universe consisting of mobile and
immobile things. Others regard four God-heads; and others three; others
again regard two; and others only one; and others regard Brahman alone as
the sole existent object (there being nothing else possessing a separate
existence). Amongst these, which should I know to be really possessed of
the knowledge of Brahman.’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘There is but one Brahman which is Truth’s self. It is
from ignorance of that One, that god-heads have been conceived to be
diverse. But who is there, O king, that hath attained to Truth’s self or
Brahman? Man regardeth himself wise without knowing that One Object of
knowledge, and from desire of happiness is engaged in study and the
practices of charity and sacrifices. They have deviated from Truth
(Brahman) and entertain purposes corresponding (with their state) and
hence relying on the truth of Vedic texts thereof perform sacrifices.
Some perform (or attain the object of) sacrifices by the mind
(meditation), some by words (recitation of particular prayers, or Yapa);
and some by acts (actual consummation of the Yatishtoma and other costly
rites). The person, however, who seeketh Brahman through Truth, obtaineth
his desired objects at home. When however, one’s purposes become abortive
(through absence of knowledge of Self), one should adopt vows of silence
and such like, called Dikshavrata. Indeed, Diksha cometh from the root
Diksha, meaning the observance of vows. As regards those that have
knowledge of Self, with them Truth is the highest object of pursuit.’

“‘The fruits of knowledge are visible; asceticism yieldeth fruits
hereafter. A Brahmana who (without knowledge and asceticism) hath only
read much should only be known as a great reader. Therefore, O Kshatriya,
never think that one can be a Brahman (Brahman-knowing) by only reading
the scriptures. He, on the other hand, should be known by thee to be
possessed of the knowledge of the Brahman who doth not deviate from
Truth. O Kshatriya, the verses that were recited by Atharvan to a
conclave of great sages, in days of old, are known by the name of
Chhandas. They are not be regarded as acquainted with the Chhandas who
have only read through the Vedas, without having attained to the
knowledge of Him who is known through the Vedas. The Chhandas, O best of
men, become the means of obtaining Brahman independently and without the
necessity of anything foreign. They cannot be regarded as acquainted with
the Chhandas who are acquainted only with the modes of sacrifice enjoined
in the Vedas. On the other hand, having waited upon those that are
acquainted with the Vedas, have not the righteous attained to the Object
that is knowable by the Vedas? There is none who hath truly caught the
sense of the Vedas or there may be some who have, O king, caught the
sense. He that hath only read the Vedas, doth not know the Object
knowable by them. He, however, that is established in Truth, knows the
Object knowable by the Vedas. Amongst those faculties which lead to
perception of the body as the acting agent, there is none by which true
knowledge may be acquired. By the mind alone one cannot acquire the
knowledge of Self and Not-Self. Indeed, he that knoweth Self also knoweth
what is Not-self. He, on the other hand, that knoweth only what is
Not-self, doth not know Truth. He, again, that knoweth the proofs,
knoweth also that which is sought to be proved. But what that Object in
its nature is (which is sought to be proved) is not known to either the
Vedas or those that are acquainted with the Vedas. For all that, however,
those Brahmanas that are (truly) acquainted with the Vedas succeed in
obtaining a knowledge of the Object knowable (by the Vedas) through the
Vedas. As the branch of a particular tree is sometimes resorted to for
pointing out the lunar digit of the first day of the lighted fortnight so
the Vedas are used for indicating the highest attributes of the Supreme
Soul. I know him to be a Brahmana (possessing a knowledge of Brahman) who
expoundeth the doubts of others, having himself mastered all his own
doubts, and who is possessed of the knowledge of Self. One cannot find
what the Soul is by seeking in the East, the South, the West, the North,
or in the subsidiary directions or horizontally. Very rarely can it be
found in him who regardeth this body to be the Self. Beyond the conception
of even the Vedas, the man of Yoga-meditation only can behold the Supreme.
Completely restraining all thy senses and thy mind also seek thou that
Brahman which is known to reside in thy own Soul. He is not a Muni who
practiseth only Yoga-meditation; nor he who liveth only in the woods
(having retired from the world). He, however, is a Muni and is superior
to all who knoweth his own nature. In consequence of one’s being able to
expound every object (Vyakarana), one is said to be endued with universal
knowledge (Vaiyakarana); and, indeed, the science itself is called
Vyakarana owing to its being able to expound every object to its very
root (which is Brahman). The man who beholdeth all the regions as present
before his eyes, is said to be possessed of universal knowledge. He that
stayeth in Truth and knoweth Brahman is said to be a Brahmana, and a
Brahmana possesseth universal knowledge. A Kshatriya also, that
practises such virtues, may behold Brahman. He may also attain to that
high state by ascending step by step, according to what is indicated in
the Vedas. Knowing it for certain, I tell thee this.’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Excellent, O Sanat-sujata, as this thy discourse
is, treating of the attainment of Brahman and the origin of the universe.
I pray thee, O celebrated Rishi, to go on telling me words such as these,
that are unconnected with objects of worldly desire and are, therefore,
rare among men.’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘That Brahman about which thou askest me with such
joy is not to be attained soon. After (the senses have been restrained
and) the will hath been merged in the pure intellect, the state that
succeeds in is one of utter absence of worldly thought. Even that is
knowledge (leading to the attainment of Brahman). It is attainable only
by practising Brahmacharya.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Thou sayest that the knowledge of Brahman dwelleth
of itself in the mind, being only discovered by Brahmacharya; that is
dwelling in the mind, it requires for its manifestation no efforts (such
as are necessary for work) being manifested (of itself) during the
seeking (by means of Brahmacharya). How then is the immortality
associated with the attainment of Brahman?’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘Though residing in and inherent to the mind, the
knowledge of Brahman is still unmanifest. It is by the aid of the pure
intellect and Brahmacharya that that knowledge is made manifest. Indeed,
having attained to that knowledge, Yogins forsake this world. It is
always to be found among eminent preceptors. I shall now discourse to
thee on that knowledge.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘What should be the nature of that Brahmacharya by
which the knowledge of Brahman might be attained without much difficulty?
O regenerate one, tell me this.’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘They, who, residing in the abodes of their
preceptors and winning their good will and friendship, practise
Brahmacharya austerities, become even in this world the embodiments of
Brahman and casting off their bodies are united with the Supreme Soul.
They that in this world desirous of obtaining the state of Brahman,
subdue all desires, and endued as they are with righteousness, they
succeed in dissociating the Soul from the body like a blade projected
from a clump of heath. The body, O Bharata, is created by these, viz.,
the father and the mother; the (new) birth, however, that is due to the
preceptor’s instructions is sacred, free from decrepitude, and immortal.
Discoursing upon Brahman and granting immortality, he who wraps all
persons with (the mantle of) truth, should be regarded as father and
mother; and bearing in mind the good he does, one should never do him any
injury. A disciple must habitually salute his preceptor with respect, and
with purity (of body and mind) and well-directed attention, he must
betake to study. He must not consider any service as mean, and must not
harbour anger. Even this is the first step of Brahmacharya. The practices
of that disciple who acquires knowledge by observing the duties ordained
for one of his class are regarded also as the first step of Brahmacharya.
A disciple should, with his very life and all his possessions, in
thought, word and deed, do all that is agreeable to the preceptor. This
is regarded as the second step of Brahmacharya. He should behave towards
his preceptor’s wife and son also in the same way as towards his
preceptor himself. This also is regarded as the second step of
Brahmacharya. Bearing well in mind what has been done to him by the
preceptor, and understanding also its object, the disciple should, with a
delighted heart think,--I have been taught and made great by him. This is
the third step of Brahmacharya. Without requiring the preceptor by
payment of the final gift, a wise disciple must not betake to another
mode of life; nor should he say or even think of in his mind,--I make
this gift. This is the fourth step of Brahmacharya. He attaineth the
first step of (knowledge of Brahman which is) the object of Brahmacharya
by aid of time; the second step, through the preceptor’s prelections; the
third, by the power of his own understanding; and finally, the fourth, by
discussion. The learned have said that Brahmacharya is constituted by the
twelve virtues, the Yoga-practices are called its Angas, and perseverance
in Yoga-meditation is called its Valam and one is crowned with success in
this in consequence of the preceptor’s aid and the understanding of the
sense of the Vedas. Whatever wealth a disciple, thus engaged, may earn,
should all be given to the preceptor. It is thus that the preceptor
obtaineth his highly praise-worthy livelihood. And thus also should the
disciple behave towards the preceptor’s son. Thus stationed (in
Brahmacharya), the disciple thriveth by all means in this world and
obtaineth numerous progeny and fame. Men also from all directions shower
wealth upon him; and many people come to his abode for practising
Brahmacharya. It is through Brahmacharya of this kind that the celestials
attained to their divinity, and sages, highly blessed and of great
wisdom, have obtained the region of Brahman. It is by this that the
Gandharvas and the Apsaras acquired such personal beauty, and it is
through Brahmacharya that Surya riseth to make the day. As the seekers of
the philosopher’s stone derive great happiness when they obtain the
object of their search those mentioned above (the celestials and others),
on completing their Brahmacharya, derive great happiness in consequence
of being able to have whatever they desire. He, O king, who devoted to
the practice of ascetic austerities, betaketh himself to Brahmacharya in
its entirety and thereby purifieth his body, is truly wise, for by this
he becometh like a child (free from all evil passions) and triumpheth
over death at last. Men, O Kshatriya, by work, however pure, obtain only
worlds that are perishable; he, however, that is blessed with Knowledge,
attaineth, by the aid of that Knowledge, to Brahman which is everlasting.
There is no other path (than Knowledge or the attainment of Brahman)
leading to emancipation.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘The existence of Brahman, thou sayest, a wise man
perceiveth in his own soul. Now, is Brahman white, or red, or black or
blue, or purple? Tell me what is the true form and colour of the
Omnipresent and Eternal Brahman?’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘Indeed, Brahman as (perceived) may appear as white,
red, black, brown, or bright. But neither on the earth, nor in the sky,
nor in the water of the ocean, is there anything like it, Neither in the
stars, nor in lightning, nor in the clouds, is its form to be seen, nor
is it visible in the atmosphere, nor in the deities, nor in the moon, nor
in the sun. Neither in the Riks, nor among the Yajus, nor among the
Atharvans, nor in the pure Samans, it is to be found. Verily, O king, it
is not to be found in Rathantara or Varhadratha, nor in great sacrifices.
Incapable of being compassed and lying beyond the reach of the limited
intellect, even the universal Destroyer, after the Dissolution, is
himself lost in it. Incapable of being gazed at, it is subtle as the edge
of the razor, and grosser than mountains. It is the basis upon which
everything is founded; it is unchangeable; it is this visible universe
(omnipresent); it is vast; it is delightful; creatures have all sprung
from it and are to return to it. Free from all kinds of duality, it is
manifest as the universe and all-pervading. Men of learning say that it
is without any change, except in the language used to describe it. They
are emancipated that are acquainted with That in which this universe is


“Sanat-sujata said, ‘Sorrow, anger, covetousness, lust, ignorance,
laziness, malice, self-importance, continuous desire of gain, affection,
jealousy and evil speech,--these twelve, O monarch, are grave faults that
are destructive of men’s lives. Each of these, O monarch, wait for
opportunities to seize mankind. Afflicted by them, men lose their senses
and commit sinful acts. He that is covetous, he that is fierce, he that
is harsh of speech, he that is garrulous, he that is given to nursing
anger, he that is boastful,--these six of wicked disposition, on
obtaining wealth, cannot treat others with courtesy. He that regardeth
sensual gratification as the end of life, he that is self-conceited, he
that boasteth having made a gift, he that never spendeth, he that is weak
in mind, he that is given to self-admiration, and he that hateth his own
wife,--these seven are counted as wicked men of sinful habits.
Righteousness, truth, asceticism, self-restraint, contentment, modesty,
renunciation, love of others, gift, acquaintance with the scriptures,
patience, and forgiveness,--these twelve are the practices of a Brahmana.
He that doth not fall off from these twelve, may sway the entire earth.
He that is endued with three, or two, or even one, of these, doth never
regard anything as his own to the exclusion of others. Self-restraint,
renunciation, and knowledge,--in these reside emancipation. These are the
attributes of Brahmanas endued with wisdom and regarding Brahman as the
highest of all objects of attainment. True or false, it is not laudable
for a Brahmana to speak ill of others; they that do this have hell for
their abode. Mada hath eighteen faults which have not yet been enumerated
by me. They are ill-will towards others, throwing obstacles in the way of
virtuous acts, detraction, falsehood in speech, lust, anger, dependence,
speaking ill of others, finding out the faults of others for report,
waste of wealth, quarrel, insolence, cruelty to living creatures, malice,
ignorance, disregard of those that are worthy of regard, loss of the
senses of right and wrong, and always seeking to injure others. A wise
man, therefore, should not give way to mada, for the accompaniments of
mada are censurable. Friendship is said to possess six indications:
firstly, friends delight in the prosperity of friends, and secondly, are
distressed at their adversity. If any one asketh for anything which is
dear to his heart, but which should not be asked for, a true friend
surely giveth away even that. Fourthly, a true friend who is of a
righteous disposition, when asked, can give away his very prosperity, his
beloved sons, and even his own wife. Fifthly, a friend should not dwell
in the house of a friend, on whom he may have bestowed everything, but
should enjoy what he earneth himself. Sixthly, a friend stoppeth not to
sacrifice his own good (for his friend). The man of wealth who seeketh to
acquire those good qualities, and who becometh charitable and righteous
restraineth his five senses from their respective objects. Such restraint
of the senses is asceticism. When it groweth in degree, it is capable of
winning regions of bliss hereafter (unlike knowledge which leadeth to
success even here). They that have fallen off from patience (and are
incapable, therefore, of attaining to Knowledge) acquire such asceticism
in consequence of the purpose they entertain, viz., the attainment of
bliss in the high regions hereafter. In consequence of his ability to
grasp that Truth (Brahman) from which sacrifices flow, the Yogin is
capable of performing sacrifices by the mind. Another performeth
sacrifices by Words (Yapa) and another by Work. Truth (Brahman) resides
in him who knoweth Brahman as vested with attributes. It dwelleth more
completely in him who knoweth Brahman as divested of attributes. Listen
now to something else from me. This high and celebrated philosophy should
be taught (to disciples). All other systems are only a farrago of words.
The whole of this (universe) is established in this Yoga-philosophy. They
that are acquainted with it are not subjected to death. O king, one
cannot, by Work, however well-accomplished, attain to Truth (Brahman).
The man that is destitute of knowledge even if he poureth homa libations
or performeth sacrifices, can never, by Work, O king, attain to
immortality (emancipation). Nor doth he enjoy great happiness at the end.
Restraining all the external senses and alone, one should seek Brahman.
Giving up Work, one should not exert mentally. One should also (while
thus engaged) avoid experiencing joy at praise or anger at blame. O
Kshatriya, by conducting himself in this way according to the successive
steps indicated in the Vedas, one may, even here, attain to Brahman.
This, O learned one, is all that I tell thee.’”


“Sanat-sujata said, ‘The primary Seed (of the universe), called
Mahayasas, is destitute of accidents, is pure Knowledge, and blazeth with
effulgence. It leadeth the senses, and it is in consequence of that Seed
that Surya shineth. That Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld by
Yogins (by their mental eye). It is in consequence of that Seed (which is
Joy’s self) that Brahman becomes capable of Creation and it is through it
that Brahman increaseth in expansion. It is that Seed which entering into
luminous bodies giveth light and heat. Without deriving its light and
heat from any other thing it is self-luminous, and is an object of terror
to all luminous bodies. The Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld by
Yogins (by their mental eye). The body composed of the five grosser
elements, that are themselves sprung from the five subtler ones,--the
latter, in their turn, originating in one homogeneous substance called
Brahman--is upheld (realised) in consciousness by both the creature-Soul
endued with life and Iswara. (These two, during sleep and the universal
dissolution, are deprived of consciousness). Brahman on the other hand,
which is never bereft of consciousness, and which is the Sun’s Sun,
upholdeth both these two and also the Earth and the Heaven. The Eternal
One endued with Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by their mental eye). The
Seed upholdeth the two gods, the Earth and the Heaven, the Directions,
and the whole Universe. It is from that Seed that directions (points of
the compass) and rivers spring, and the vast seas also have derived their
origin. The Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by
their mental eye). The body is like a car destined to destruction. Its
acts, however, are undying. Tied to the wheels of that car (which are
represented by the acts of past lives), the senses, that are as steeds,
lead, through the region of consciousness, the man of wisdom towards that
Increate and Unchangeable One, that One endued with Divinity is beheld by
Yogins (by their mental eye). The form of that One cannot be displayed by
any comparison. None ever beholdeth Him by the eye. They that know him by
the rapt faculties, the mind, and the heart, become freed from death. The
Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by their mental
eye). The stream of illusion is terrible; guarded by the gods, it hath
twelve fruits. Drinking of its waters and beholding many sweet things in
its midst, men swim along it to and fro. This stream flows from that
Seed. That Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by their
mental eye). Destined to sojourn to and fro, the creature-Soul, having
reflected enjoyeth (in the other world) only half of the fruits of his
acts. It is that creature-Soul which is Iswara, pervading everything in
the universe. It is Iswara that hath ordained sacrifices. That Eternal
One endued with Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by their mental eye). Souls
divested of accidents, resorting to Avidya, which is like unto a tree of
golden foliage, assume accidents, and take births in different orders
according to their propensities. That Eternal One endued with Divinity
(in Whom all those Souls are united) is beheld by Yogins (by their mental
eye). Accidents (which coming in contact with Brahman make the latter
assume many forms) raise the universe in its Fulness from that Brahman
which is full. Those accidents also, in their Fulness, arise from Brahman
in its Fulness. When one succeeds in dispelling all accidents from
Brahman which is ever Full, that which remains is Brahman in its Fulness.
That Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by their
mental eye). It is from that Seed that the five elements have arisen, and
it is in it that the power resideth for controlling them. It is from that
Seed that both the consumer and the consumed (called Agni and Soma) have
sprung, and it is in it that the living organisms with the senses rest.
Everything should be regarded to have sprung from it. That Seed called in
the Vedas TATH (Tad), we are unable to describe. That Eternal One endued
with Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by their mental eye). The vital air
called Apana is swallowed up by the Air called Prana; Prana is swallowed
up by the Will, and the Will by the Intellect, and the Intellect by the
Supreme Soul. That Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld by Yogins
(by their mental eye). The Supreme Soul endued with four legs, called
respectively Waking, Dream, profound Sleep, and Turiya, like unto a swan,
treading above the unfathomable ocean of worldly affairs doth not put
forth one leg that is hid deep. Unto him that beholdeth that leg (viz.,
Turiya) as put forth for the purpose of guiding the other three, both
death and emancipation are the same. That Eternal One endued with
Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by their mental eye). Of the measure of the
thumb, ever Full, and different from this eternal organism, coming in
contact with the Vital airs, the Will, the Intellect, and the ten Senses,
it moveth to and fro. That Supreme Controller, worthy of reverential
hymns, capable of everything when vested with accidents and the prime
cause of everything, is manifest as Knowledge in creature-Souls. Fools
alone do not behold him; that Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld
by Yogins (by their mental eye). Among individuals there are those that
have obtained the mastery of their minds, and those that have not. Yet in
all men the Supreme Soul may be seen equally. Indeed, it resideth equally
in him that is emancipate and in him that is not, with only this
difference that they that are emancipate obtain honey flowing in a thick
jet. That Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by their
mental eye). When one maketh life’s Sojourn, having attained to the
knowledge of Self and Not-Self, then it matters little whether his
Agni-hotra is performed or not. O monarch, let not such words as “I am
thy servant” fall from their lips. The Supreme Soul hath another name,
viz., Pure Knowledge. They only that have restrained their minds obtain
Him. That Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by their
mental eye). Even such is He. Illustrious and Full, all living creatures
are merged into Him. He that knoweth that embodiment of Fullness
attaineth to his object (emancipation) even here. That Eternal One endued
with Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by their mental eye). That which
flieth away stretching forth thousands of wings, yea, if endued with the
speed of the mind, must yet come back to the Central Spirit within the
living organism (in which the most distant things reside). (That Eternal
One endued with Divinity) is beheld by Yogins (by their mental eye). His
form cannot be an object of sight. They only, that are of pure hearts,
can behold him. When one seeketh the good of all, succeedeth in
controlling his mind, and never suffereth his heart to be affected by
grief, then he is said to have purified his heart. Those again that can
abandon the world and all its cares, become immortal. (That Supreme Soul
which is undying),--that Eternal One endued with Divinity--is beheld by
Yogins (by their mental eye). Like serpents concealing themselves in
holes, there are persons who following the dictates of their preceptors,
or by their own conduct conceal their vices from scrutiny’s gaze. They
that are of little sense are deceived by these. In fact, bearing
themselves outwardly without any impropriety, these deceive their victims
for leading them to hell. (Him, therefore, who may be attained by
companionship with persons of the very opposite class), that Eternal One
endued with Divinity--is beheld by Yogins (by their mental eye). He that
is emancipate thinks,--this transitory organism can never make me liable
to joy and grief and the other attributes inhering to it: nor can there
be, in my case, anything like death and birth: and, further, when
Brahman, which hath no opposing force to contend against and which is
alike in all times and all places, constitutes the resting-place of both
realities and unrealities, how can emancipation be mine? It is I alone
that am the origin and the end of all causes and effects.--(Existing in
the form of I or Self) that Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld by
Yogins (by their mental eye). The Brahman-knowing person, who is equal
unto Brahman itself, is neither glorified by good acts nor defiled by bad
ones. It is only in ordinary men that acts, good or bad, produce
different results. The person that knoweth Brahman should be regarded as
identical with Amrita or the state called Kaivalya which is incapable of
being affected by either virtue or vice. One should, therefore, disposing
his mind in the way indicated, attain to that essence of sweetness
(Brahman). That Eternal One endued with Divinity is beheld by Yogins (by
their mental eye). Slander grieveth not the heart of the person that
knoweth Brahman not the thought--I have not studied (the Veda), or, I
have not performed my Agni-hotra. The knowledge of Brahman soon imparteth
to him that wisdom which they only obtain who have restrained their mind.
(That Brahman which freeth the Soul from grief and ignorance)--that
Eternal One endued with Divinity--is beheld by Yogins (by their mental
eye). He, therefore, that beholdeth his own Self in everything, hath no
longer to grieve, for they only have to grieve who are employed in
diverse other occupations of the world. As one’s purposes (appeasing
thirst, etc.) may be served in a well as in a large reservoir or vast
expanse, so the various purposes of the Vedas may all be derivable by him
that knoweth the Soul. Dwelling in the heart, and of the measure of the
thumb, that illustrious One--the embodiment of Fullness--is not an object
of sight. Unborn he moveth, awake day and night. He that knoweth him,
becometh both learned and full of joy. I am called the mother and father.
I am again the son. Of all that was, and of all that we will be, I am the
Soul. O Bharata, I am the old grandsire, I am the father, I am the son.
Ye are staying in my soul, yet ye are not mine, nor am I yours! The Soul
is the cause of my birth and procreation. I am the warp and woof of the
universe. That upon which I rest is indestructible. Unborn I move, awake
day and night. It is I knowing whom one becometh both learned and full of
joy. Subtler than the subtle, of excellent eyes capable of looking into
both the past and the future, Brahman is awake in every creature. They
that knows Him know that Universal Father dwelleth in the heart of every
created thing!’”


“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus conversing with Sanat-sujata and the learned
Vidura, the king passed that night. And after the night had passed away,
all the princes and chiefs, entered the court-hall with joyous hearts and
desirous of seeing that Suta (who had returned). And anxious to hear the
message of Partha’s, fraught with virtue and profit, all the kings with
Dhritarashtra at their head, went to that beautiful hall. Spotlessly
white and spacious, it was adorned with a golden floor. And effulgent as
the moon and exceedingly beautiful, it was sprinkled over with
sandal-water. And it was spread over with excellent seats made of gold
and wood, and marble and ivory. And all the seats were wrapped with
excellent covers. And Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Salya, and
Kritavarman and Jayadratha, and Aswatthaman and Vikarna, and Somadatta
and Vahlika and Vidura of great wisdom and Yuyutsu, the great
car-warrior,--all these heroic kings in a body, O bull among the
Bharatas, having Dhritarashtra at their head, entered that hall of great
beauty. And Dussasana and Chitrasena, and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, and
Durmukha and Dussaha, Karna and Uluka and Vivinsati,--these also, with
Duryodhana, the wrathful king of the Kurus, at their head, entered that
hall, O monarch, like the celestials forming the train of Sakra himself.
And filled with these heroes possessed of arms like maces of iron, that
hall looked, O king, like a mountain-cave filled with lions. And all
these mighty bowmen, endued with great energy and blazing, with solar
effulgence, entering the hall, seated themselves on those beautiful
seats. And after all those kings, O Bharata, had taken their seats, the
orderly-in-waiting announced the arrival of the Suta’s son, saying,
“Yonder cometh the car that was despatched to the Pandavas. Our envoy
hath returned quickly, by the aid of well-trained steeds of the Sindhu
breed.” And having approached the place with speed and alighted from the
car, Sanjaya adorned with ear-rings entered that hall full of high-souled
kings. And the Suta said, “Ye Kauravas, know that having gone to the
Pandavas I am just returning from them. The sons of Pandu offer their
congratulations to all the Kurus according to the age of each. Having
offered their respects in return, the sons of Pritha have saluted the
aged ones, and those that are equal to them in years, and those also that
are younger, just as each should, according to his years, be saluted.
Listen, ye kings, to what I, instructed before by Dhritarashtra, said to
the Pandavas, having gone to them from this place.”’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I ask thee, O Sanjaya, in the presence of my boy
and of these kings, what words were said by the illustrious Dhananjaya of
might that knoweth no diminution,--that leader of warriors,--that
destroyer of the lives of the wicked?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Let Duryodhana listen to the words which the high-souled
Arjuna, eager for fight, uttered, with Yudhishthira’s sanction and in the
hearing of Kesava. Fearless (in battle) and conscious of the might of his
arms, the heroic Kiritin, eager for fight, spoke thus unto me in the
presence of Vasudeva, “Do thou, O suta, say unto Dhritarashtra’s son, in
the presence of all the Kurus, and also in the hearing of that Suta’s
son, of foul tongue and wicked soul, of little sense, stupid reason, and
of numbered days, who always desires to fight against me, and also in the
hearing of those kings assembled for fighting against the Pandavas, and
do thou see that all the words now uttered by me are heard well by that
king with his counsellors.” O monarch, even as the celestials eagerly
listen to the words of their chief armed with the thunderbolt, so did the
Pandavas and the Srinjayas listen to those words of grave import
uttered by Kiritin. Just these are the words spoken by Arjuna, the
wielder of Gandiva, eager for the fight and with eyes red as the lotus,
“If Dhritarashtra’s son doth not surrender to king Yudhishthira of the
Ajamida race, his kingdom, then (it is evident) there must be some sinful
act committed by the sons of Dhritarashtra, whose consequences are yet
unreaped by them, for it can be nothing else when they desire battle with
Bhimasena and Arjuna, and the Aswins and Vasudeva and Sini’s son, and
Dhrishtadyumna infallible in arms, and Sikhandin, and Yudhishthira, who
is like Indra himself and who can consume heaven and earth by merely
wishing them ill. If Dhritarashtra’s son desireth war with these, then
will all objects of the Pandavas be accomplished. Do not, therefore,
propose peace for the sons of Pandu, but have war if thou likest. That
bed of woe in the woods which was Yudhishthira’s when that virtuous son
of Pandu lived in exile. Oh, let a more painful bed than that, on the
bare earth, be now Duryodhana’s and let him lie down on it, as his last,
deprived of life. Win thou over those men that were ruled by the wicked
Duryodhana of unjust conduct to the side of Pandu’s son endued with
modesty and wisdom and asceticism and self-restraint and valour and might
regulated by virtue. Endued with humility and righteousness, with
asceticism and self-restraint and with valour regulated by virtue, and
always speaking the truth, our king, though afflicted by numerous
deceptions, hath forgiven all and hath patiently borne great wrongs. When
the eldest son of Pandu, of soul under proper control, will indignantly
dart at the Kurus his terrible wrath accumulated for years, then will the
son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. As a blazing fire burning all
around consumeth dry grass in the hot season, so will Yudhishthira,
inflamed with wrath, consume the Dhritarashtra host by glance alone of
his eye. When Dhritarashtra’s son will behold Bhimasena, that wrathful
Pandava of terrific impetus, stationed on his car, mace in hand, vomiting
the venom of his wrath, then will Duryodhana repent for this war. Indeed,
when he will behold Bhimasena, who always fighteth in the van, accoutred
in mail, scarcely capable of being looked at even by his own followers
felling hostile heroes and devastating the enemy’s ranks like Yama
himself, then will the exceedingly vain Duryodhana recollect these words.
When he will behold elephants, looking like mountain-peaks, felled by
Bhimasena, blood flowing their broken heads like water from broken casks,
then will Dhritarashtra’s son repent for this war. When falling upon the
sons of Dhritarashtra the fierce Bhima of terrible mien, mace in hand,
will slaughter them, like a huge lion falling upon a herd of kine, then
will Duryodhana repent for this war. When the heroic Bhima undaunted even
in situations of great danger and skilled in weapons--when that grinder of
hostile hosts in battle,--mounted on his car, and alone will crush by his
mace crowds of superior cars and entire ranks of infantry, seize by his
nooses strong as iron, the elephants of the hostile army, and mow down
the Dhritarashtra’s host, like a sturdy woodsman cutting a forest down
with an axe, then will Dhritarashtra’s son repent for this war. When he
will behold the Dhartarashtra’s host consumed like a hamlet full of
straw-built huts by fire, or a field of ripe corn by lightning,--indeed
when he will behold his vast army scattered, its leaders slain, and men
running away with their back towards the field afflicted with fear, and
all the warriors, humbled to the dust, being scorched by Bhimasena with
the fire of his weapons,--then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for
this war. When Nakula, that warrior of wonderful feats, that foremost of
all car-warriors, dexterously shooting arrows by hundreds, will mangle
the car-warriors of Duryodhana, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent
for this war. Accustomed to enjoy all the comforts and luxuries of life,
when Nakula, recollecting that bed of woe on which he had slept for a
long time in the woods, will vomit the poison of his wrath like an angry
snake, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. Ready to
lay down their very lives, the (allied) monarchs, O Suta, urged to battle
by king Yudhishthira the just, will furiously advance on their
resplendent cars against the (hostile) army. Beholding this, the son of
Dhritarashtra will certainly have to repent. When the Kuru prince will
behold the five heroic sons of (Draupadi), tender in years but not in
acts, and all well-versed in arms, rush, reckless of their lives, against
the Kauravas, then will that son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war.
When bent upon carnage Sahadeva, mounted on his car of noiseless wheels,
and motion incapable of being obstructed, and set with golden stars, and
drawn by well-trained steeds, will make the heads of monarchs roll on the
field of battle with volleys of arrows,--indeed, beholding that warrior
skilled in weapons, seated on his car in the midst of that frightful
havoc, turning now to the left and now to the right and falling upon the
foe in all directions, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this
war. Indeed, when the modest but mighty Sahadeva, skilled in battle,
truthful, conversant with all the ways of morality, and endued with great
activity and impetuousness, will fall upon the son of Gandhari in fierce
encounter and rout all his followers, then will the son of Dhritarashtra
repent for this war. When he will behold the sons of Draupadi, those
great bowmen, those heroes skilled in weapons and well-versed in all the
ways of chariot-fighting, dart at the foe like snakes of virulent poison,
then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When that slayer
of hostile heroes, Abhimanyu, skilled in arms like Krishna himself, will
overpower the foe showering upon them, like the very clouds, a thick
downpour of arrows, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this
war. Indeed, when he will behold that son of Subhadra, a child in years
but not in energy, skilled in weapons and like unto Indra himself,
falling like Death’s self upon the ranks of the foe, then will the son of
Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When the youthful Prabhadrakas, endued
with great activity, well-versed in battle, and possessed of the energy
of lions will overthrow the sons of Dhritarashtra with all their troops,
then will Duryodhana repent for this war. When those veteran car-warriors
Virata and Drupada will assail, at the head of their respective
divisions, the sons of Dhritarashtra and their ranks, then will
Duryodhana repent for this war. When Drupada, skilled in weapons, and
seated on his car, desirous of plucking the heads of youthful warriors,
will wrathfully strike them off with arrows shot from his bow, then will
the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When that slayer of hostile
heroes, Virata will penetrate into the ranks of the foe, grinding all
before him with the aid of his Matsya warriors of cool courage, then will
the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When he will behold in the
very van the eldest son of the Matsya king, of cool courage and collected
mien, seated on his car and accoutred in mail on behalf of the Pandavas,
then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. I tell thee
truly that when that foremost of Kaurava heroes, the virtuous son of
Santanu, will be slain in battle by Sikhandin, then all our foes, without
doubt, will perish. Indeed, when, overthrowing numerous car-warriors,
Sikhandin, seated on his own well-protected car, will proceed towards
Bhishma, crushing multitudes of (hostile) cars by means of his own
powerful steeds, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war.
When he will behold Dhrishtadyumna unto whom Drona hath imparted all the
mysteries of the science of weapons, stationed in splendour in the very
van of the Srinjaya ranks, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent.
Indeed, when the leader of the Pandava host, of immeasurable prowess and
capable of withstanding the rush of any force, will proceed to attack
Drona in battle, crushing with his arrows the Dhritarashtra ranks, then
will Duryodhana repent for this war. What enemy can withstand him who
hath, for fighting in his van, that lion of the Vrishni race, that chief
of the Somakas, who is modest and intelligent, mighty and endued with
great energy, and blessed with every kind of prosperity? Say also this
(unto Duryodhana),--Do not covet (the kingdom). We have chosen, for our
leader, the dauntless and mighty car-warrior Satyaki, the grandson of
Sini, skilled in weapons and having none on earth as his equal. Of broad
chest and long arms, that grinder of foes, unrivalled in battle, and
acquainted with the best of weapons, the grandson of Sini, skilled in
arms and perfectly dauntless, is a mighty car-warrior wielding a bow of
full four cubits’ length. When that slayer of foes, that chief of the
Sinis, urged by me, will shower, like the very clouds, his arrows on the
foe, completely overwhelming their leaders with that downpour, then will
the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When that illustrious
warrior of long arms and firm grasp of the bow, musters his resolution
for fight, the foe then, like kine getting the scent of the lion, fly
away from him before even commencing the encounter. That illustrious
warrior of long arms and firm grasp of the bow is capable of splitting
the very hills and destroying the entire universe. Practised in weapons,
skilled (in battle), and endued with exceeding lightness of hand, he
shineth on the field of battle like the sun himself in the sky. That lion
of the Vrishni race, that scion of Yadu’s line, of superior training,
hath diverse wonderful and excellent weapons. Indeed, Satyaki is
possessed of a knowledge of all those uses of weapons that are said to be
of the highest excellence. When he will behold in battle the golden car
of Satyaki of Madhu’s race, drawn by four white steeds, then will that
wretch of uncontrolled passions, the son of Dhritarashtra, repent. When
he will also behold my terrible car, endued with the effulgence of gold
and bright gems, drawn by white steeds and furnished with the banner
bearing the device of the Ape and guided by Kesava himself, then will
that wretch of uncontrolled passions repent. When he will hear the fierce
twang produced by the constant stretch of the bow-string with fingers
cased in leather gloves,--that terrible twang, loud as the rolling of the
thunder, of my bow Gandiva wielded by me in the midst of the great
battle,--then will that wicked wretch, the son of Dhritarashtra repent,
beholding himself abandoned by his troops, flying away like kine from the
field of battle in all directions, overwhelmed with the darkness created
by my arrowy downpour. When he will behold innumerable keen-edged arrows,
furnished with beautiful wings, and capable of penetrating into the very
vitals, shot from the string of Gandiva, like fierce and terrible flashes
of lightning emitted by the clouds, destroying enemies by thousands, and
devouring numberless steeds and elephants clad in mail, then will the son
of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When he will behold the arrows shot
by the enemy turned off, or turned back struck by my shafts, or cut to
pieces pierced transversely by my arrows, then will the foolish son of
Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When broad-headed arrows shot by my
hands will strike off the heads of youthful warriors, like birds picking
off fruits from the tree-tops, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent
for this war. When he will behold excellent warriors of his falling down
from their cars, and elephants and steeds rolling on the field, deprived
of life by my arrows, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this
war. When he will behold his brothers, even before fairly coming within
the range of the enemy’s weapons, die all around, without having achieved
anything in battle, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this
war. When pouring my blazing shafts incessantly, I will, like Death
himself with mouth wide-open, destroy on all sides multitudes of cars and
foot-soldiers, then will that wretch repent. When he will behold his own
troops, covered with the dust raised by my car, wander in all directions,
torn to pieces by Gandiva and reft of senses, then will that wretch
repent. When he will behold his whole army running away in fear in all
directions, mangled in limbs, and bereft of senses; when he will behold
his steeds, elephants, and foremost of heroes slain; when he will see his
troops thirsty, struck with panic, wailing aloud, dead and dying, with
their animals exhausted; and hair, bones and skulls lying in heaps around
like half-wrought works of the Creator, then will that wretch repent.
When he will behold on my car, Gandiva, Vasudeva, and the celestial conch
Panchajanya, myself, my couple of inexhaustible quivers, and my conch
called Devadatta as also my white steeds, then will the son of
Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When I consume the Kauravas, like Agni
consuming innumerable wicked souls assembled together at the time of
ushering in another Yuga at the end of the last one, then Dhritarashtra
with all his sons repent. When the wicked-hearted and the wrathful son
of Dhritarashtra will be deprived of prosperity with brothers and army
and followers, then, reft of pride and losing heart and trembling all
over, will that fool repent. One morning when I had finished my
water-rites and prayers, a Brahmana spoke unto me these pleasant words,
‘O Partha, thou shalt have to execute a very difficult task. O
Savyasachin, thou shalt have to fight with thy foes. Either Indra riding
on his excellent steed and thunderbolt in hand will walk before thee
slaying thy foes in battle, or Krishna, the son of Vasudeva will protect
thee from behind riding on his car drawn by the steeds headed by Sugriva.’
Relying on those words, I have, in this battle passing over Indra, the
wielder of the thunderbolt, preferred Vasudeva as my ally. That Krishna
hath been obtained by me for the destruction of those wicked ones. I see
the hand of the gods in all this. The person whose success is only wished
for by Krishna, without the latter’s actually taking up arms in his
behalf, is certain to prevail over all enemies, even if those be the
celestials with Indra at their head, while anxiety there is none if they
be human. He that wisheth to conquer in battle that foremost of heroes,
Vasudeva’s son Krishna endued with great energy, wisheth to cross by his
two arms alone the great ocean of wide expanse and immeasurable water.
He that wisheth to split by a slap of his palm the high Kailasa
mountain, is not able to do the slightest damage to the mountain although
his hand only with its nails is sure to wear away. He that would conquer
Vasudeva in battle, would, with his two arms, extinguish a blazing fire,
stop the Sun and the Moon, and plunder by force the Amrita of the
gods,--that Vasudeva, viz., who having mowed down in battle by main force
all the royal warriors of the Bhoja race, had carried off on a single car
Rukmini of great fame for making her his wife; and by her was afterwards
born Pradyumna of high soul. It was this favourite of the gods, who,
having speedily smashed the Gandharas and conquered all the sons of
Nagnajit, forcibly liberated from confinement king Sudarsana of great
energy. It was he that slew king Pandya by striking his breast against
his, and moved down the Kalingas in battle. Burnt by him, the city of
Varanasi remained for many years without a king, incapable of being
defeated by others. Ekalavya, the king of the Nishadas, always used to
challenge this one to battle; but slain by Krishna he lay dead like the
Asura Jambha violently thrashed on a hillock. It was Krishna, who, having
Baladeva for his second, slew Ugrasena’s wicked son (Kansa), seated in
court in the midst of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, and then gave unto
Ugrasena the kingdom. It was Krishna who fought with king Salya, the lord
of Saubha, stationed in the skies, fearless in consequence of his powers
of illusion; and it was he, who, at the gate of Subha caught with his
hands the fierce Sataghni (hurled by Saubha’s lord). What mortal is able
to bear his might? The Asuras had a city named Pragjyotisha, which was
formidable, inaccessible and unbearable. It was there that the mighty
Naraka, the son of the Earth, kept the jewelled ear-rings of Aditi,
having brought them by force. The very gods, who, fearless of death,
assembled together with Sakra at their head were incapable of conquering
him. Beholding Kesava’s prowess and might, and weapon that is
irresistible, and knowing also the object of his birth, the gods employed
him for the destruction of those Asuras. Vasudeva, too, endued with all
the divine attributes that ensure success, agreed to undertake that
exceedingly difficult task. In the city of Nirmochana that hero slew six
thousand Asuras, and cutting into pieces innumerable keen-edged shafts,
he slew Mura and hosts of Rakshasas, and then entered that city. It was
there, that an encounter took place between the mighty Naraka and Vishnu
of immeasurable strength. Slain by Krishna, Naraka lay lifeless there,
like a Karnikara tree uprooted by the wind. Having slain the Earth’s son,
Naraka, and also Mura, and having recovered those jewelled ear-rings, the
learned Krishna of unparalleled prowess came back, adorned with beauty
and undying fame. Having witnessed his terrible feats in that battle, the
gods then and there blessed him saying, ‘Fatigue will never be thine in
fights, neither the firmament nor the waters shall stop thy course, nor
shall weapons penetrate thy body.’ And Krishna, by all this, regarded
himself amply rewarded. Immeasurable, and possessed of great might, in
Vasudeva ever exist all the virtues. And yet the son of Dhritarashtra
seeketh to vanquish that unbearable Vishnu of infinite energy, for that
wretch often thinks of imprisoning him. Krishna, however, beareth all
this for our sake only. That wretch seeketh to create a sudden disunion
between Krishna and myself. How far, however, he is capable of taking
away the affection of Krishna from the Pandavas, he will see on the field
of battle. Having bowed down unto Santanu’s son, and also Drona with his
son, and the unrivalled son of Saradwat, I shall fight for regaining our
kingdom. The God of justice himself, I am sure, will bring destruction on
that sinful man who will fight with the Pandavas. Deceitfully defeated at
dice by those wretches, ourselves, of royal birth, had to pass twelve
years in great distress in the forest and one long year in a state of
concealment. When those Pandavas are still alive, how shall the sons of
Dhritarashtra rejoice, possessing rank and affluence? If they vanquish us
in fight, aided by the very gods headed by Indra, then the practice of
vice would be better than virtue, and surely there would be nothing like
righteousness on earth. If man is affected by his acts, if we be superior
to Duryodhana, then, I hope that, with Vasudeva as my second, I shall
slay Duryodhana, with all his kinsmen. O lord of men, if the act of
robbing us of our kingdom be wicked, if these our own good deeds be not
fruitless, than beholding both this and that, it seems to me, the
overthrow of Duryodhana is certain. Ye Kauravas, ye will see it with your
eyes that, if they fight, the sons of Dhritarashtra shall certainly
perish. If they act otherwise instead of fighting, then they may live;
but in the event of a battle ensuing, none of them will be left alive.
Slaying all the sons of Dhritarashtra along with Karna, I shall surely
wrest the hole of their kingdom. Do ye, meanwhile, whatever ye think
best, and enjoy also your wives and other sweet things of life. There
are, with us, many aged Brahmanas, versed in various sciences, of amiable
behaviour, well-born, acquainted with the cycle of the years, engaged in
the study of astrology, capable of understanding with certainty the
motions of planets and the conjunctions of stars as also of explaining
the mysteries of fate, and answering questions relating to the future,
acquainted with the signs of the Zodiac, and versed with the occurrences
of every hour, who are prophesying the great destruction of the Kurus and
the Srinjayas, and the ultimate victory of the Pandavas, so that
Yudhishthira, who never made an enemy, already regardeth his objects
fulfilled in consequence of the slaughter of his foes. And Janardana
also, that lion among the Vrishnis, endued with the knowledge of the
invisible future, without doubt, beholdeth all this. And I also, with
unerring foresight, myself behold that future, for that foresight of
mine, acquired of old, is not obstructed. The sons of Dhritarashtra, if
they fight, will not live. My bow, Gandiva, yawneth without being
handled; my bow-string trembleth without being stretched; and arrows
also, issuing from my quiver’s mouth, are again and again seeking to fly.
My bright scimitar issueth of itself from its sheath, like a snake
quitting its own worn off slough; and on the top of my flag-staff are
heard terrific voices,--When shall thy car be yoked, O Kiritin?
Innumerable jackals set up hideous howls at night, and Rakshasas
frequently alight from the sky; deer and jackals and peacocks, crows and
vultures and cranes, and wolves and birds of golden plumage, follow in
the rear of my car when my white steeds are yoked unto it. Single-handed
I can despatch, with arrowy showers, all warlike kings, to the regions of
death. As a blazing fire consumeth a forest in the hot season, so,
exhibiting diverse courses, I will hurl those great weapons called
Sthur-karna, Pasupata, and Brahma, and all those that Sakra gave me, all
of which are endued with fierce impetuosity. And with their aid, setting
my heart on the destruction of those monarchs, I will leave no remnant of
those that come to the field of battle. I will rest, having done all
this. Even this is my chief and decided resolve. Tell them this, O son of
Gavalgana. Look at the folly of Duryodhana! O Suta, they that are
invincible in battle even if encountered with the aid of the very gods
headed by Indra,--even against them that son of Dhritarashtra thinketh of
warring! But so let it be even as the aged Bhishma, the son of Santanu,
and Kripa, and Drona with his son, and Vidura endued with great wisdom,
are saying, ‘May the Kauravas all live long!’”’”


Vaisampayana said, “In the midst, O Bharata, of all those assembled
kings, Bhishma, the son of Santanu, then said these words unto
Duryodhana, ‘Once on a time, Vrihaspati and Sakra went to Brahma. The
Maruts also with Indra, the Vasus with Agni, the Adityas, the Sadhyas,
the seven celestial Rishis, the Gandharvas, Viswavasu, and the beautiful
tribes of the Apsaras, all approached the ancient Grandsire. And having
bowed down unto the Lord of the universe, all those dwellers of heaven
sat around him. Just then, the two ancient deities, the Rishis Nara and
Narayana, as if drawing unto themselves by their own energy the minds and
energies of all who were present there, left the place. Thereupon,
Vrihaspati asked Brahma, saying,--“Who are these two that leave the place
without worshipping thee? Tell us, O Grandsire, who are they?” Thus asked,
Brahma said, “These two, endued with ascetic merit, blazing with
effulgence and beauty, illuminating both the earth and the heaven,
possessed of great might, and pervading and surpassing all, are Nara and
Narayana, dwelling now in the region of Brahman having arrived from the
other world. Endued with great might and prowess, they shine in
consequence of their own asceticism. By their acts they always contribute
to the joy of the world. Worshipped by the gods and the Gandharvas, they
exist only for the destruction of Asuras.”’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Having heard these words, Sakra went to the spot
where those two were practising ascetic austerities, accompanied by all
the celestials and having Vrihaspati at their head. At that time, the
dwellers of heaven had been very much alarmed in consequence of a war
raging between themselves and the Asuras. And Indra asked that
illustrious couple to grant him a boon. Thus solicited, O best of the
Bharata race, those two said,--“Name thou the boon.”--Upon this Sakra said
unto them,--“Give us your aid.”--They then said unto Sakra,--“We will do
what thou wishest.” And then it was with their aid that Sakra subsequently
vanquished the Daityas and the Danavas. The chastiser of foes, Nara, slew
in battle hundreds and thousands of Indra’s foes among the Paulomas and
the Kalakhanjas. It was this Arjuna, who, riding on a whirling car,
severed in battle, with a broad-headed arrow, the head of the Asura
Jambha while the latter was about to swallow him. It was he who afflicted
(the Daitya city of Hiranyapura) on the other side of the ocean, having
vanquished in battle sixty thousands of Nivatakavachas. It was this
conqueror of hostile towns, this Arjuna of mighty arms, that gratified
Agni, having vanquished the very gods with Indra at their head. And
Narayana also hath, in this world, destroyed in the same way numberless
other Daityas and Danavas. Even such are those two of mighty energy that
are now seen united with each other. It hath been heard by us that the
two heroic and mighty car-warriors, Vasudeva and Arjuna, that are now
united with each other, are those same ancient gods, the divine Nara and
Narayana. Amongst all on earth they are incapable of being vanquished by
the Asuras and the gods headed by Indra himself. That Narayana is
Krishna, and that Nara is Falguna. Indeed, they are one Soul born in
twain. These two, by their acts, enjoy numerous eternal and inexhaustible
regions, and are repeatedly born in those worlds when destructive wars
are necessary. For this reason their mission is to fight. Just this is
what Narada, conversant with the Vedas, had said unto the Vrishnis. When
thou, O Duryodhana, wilt see Kesava with conch-shell and discus, and mace
in hand, and that terrible wielder of the bow, Arjuna, armed with
weapons, when thou wilt behold those eternal and illustrious ones, the
two Krishnas seated on the same car, then wilt thou, O child, remember
these my words. Why should not such danger threaten the Kurus when thy
intellect, O child, hath fallen off from both profit and virtue? If thou
heedest not my words, thou shalt then have to hear of the slaughter of
many, for all the Kauravas accept thy opinion. Thou art alone in holding
as true the opinion, O bull of the Bharata race, only three persons,
viz., Karna, a low-born Suta’s son cursed by Rama, Sakuni, the son of
Suvala, and thy mean and sinful brother Dussasana.’

“Karna said, ‘It behoveth thee not, O blessed grandsire, to use such
words towards me, for I have adopted the duties of the Kshatriya order
without falling off from those of my own. Besides, what wickedness is
there in me? I have no sin known to any one of Dhritarashtra’s people. I
have never done any injury to Dhritarashtra’s son; on the other hand, I
will slay all the Pandavas in battle. How can they that are wise make
peace again with those that have before been injured? It is always my
duty to do all that is agreeable to king Dhritarashtra, and especially to
Duryodhana, for he is in possession of the kingdom.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having listened to these words of Karna,
Bhishma the son of Santanu, addressing king Dhritarashtra, again said,
‘Although this one often boasteth saying,--“I shall slay the
Pandavas,”--yet he is not equal to even a sixteenth part of the high-souled
Pandavas. Know that the great calamity that is about to overtake thy sons
of wicked souls, is the act of this wretched son of a Suta! Relying upon
him, thy foolish son Suyodhana hath insulted those heroes of celestial
descent, those chastisers of all foes. What, however, is that difficult
feat achieved by this wretch before that is equal to any of those
achieved of old by every one of the Pandavas? Beholding in the city of
Virata his beloved brother slain by Dhananjaya who displayed such
prowess, what did this one then do? When Dhananjaya, rushing against all
the assembled Kurus, crushed them and took away their robes, was this one
not there then? When thy son was being led away as a captive by the
Gandharvas on the occasion of the tale of the cattle, where was this son
of a Suta then who now belloweth like a bull? Even there, it was Bhima,
and the illustrious Partha, and the twins, that encountered the
Gandharvas and vanquished them. Ever beautiful, and always unmindful of
both virtue and profit, these, O bull of the Bharata race, are the many
false things, blessed be thou, that this one uttereth.’

“Having heard these words of Bhishma, the high-souled son of Bharadwaja,
having paid due homage unto Dhritarashtra and the assembled kings, spoke
unto him these words, ‘Do that, O king, which the best of the Bharatas,
Bhishma, hath said. It behoveth thee not to act according to the words of
those that are covetous of wealth. Peace with the Pandavas, before the
war breaks out, seems to be the best. Everything said by Arjuna and
repeated here by Sanjaya, will, I know, be accomplished by that son of
Pandu, for there is no bowman equal unto him in the three worlds!’ Without
regarding, however, these words spoken by both Drona and Bhishma, the
king again asked Sanjaya about the Pandavas. From that moment, when the
king returned not a proper answer to Bhishma and Drona, the Kauravas gave
up all hopes of life.”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘What did that Pandava king, the son of Dharma, say,
O Sanjaya, after hearing that a large force hath been assembled here for
gladdening us? How also is Yudhishthira acting, in view of the coming
strife, O Suta, who amongst his brothers and sons are looking up to his
face, desirous of receiving his orders? Provoked as he is by the
deceptions of my wicked sons, who, again, are dissuading that king of
virtuous behaviour and conversant with virtue, saying,--“Have peace”?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘All the Panchalas, along with the other sons of Pandu,
are looking up to Yudhishthira’s face, blessed be thou, and he too is
restraining them all. Multitudes of cars belonging to the Pandavas and
the Panchalas are coming in separate bodies for gladdening Yudhishthira,
the son of Kunti, ready to march to the field of battle. As the sky
brightens up at the advent of the rising sun, so the Panchalas are
rejoicing at their union with Kunti’s son of blazing splendour, risen
like a flood of light. The Panchalas, the Kekayas, and the Matsyas, along
with the very herdsmen that attend on their kine and sheep, are rejoicing
and gladdening Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu. Brahmana and Kshatriya
girls and the very daughters of the Vaisyas, in large number, are coming
in playful mood for beholding Partha accounted in coat of mail.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Tell us, O Sanjaya, of the forces of
Dhrishtadyumna, as also of the Somakas, and of all others, with which the
Pandavas intend to fight with us.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus interrogated, in the midst of the Kurus
and in their very hall, the son of Gavalgana became thoughtful for a
moment and seemed to draw repeatedly deep and long sights; and suddenly
he fell down in a swoon without any apparent reason. Then in that
assembly of kings, Vidura said loudly, ‘Sanjaya, O great king, hath
fallen down on the ground senseless, and cannot utter a word, bereft of
sense and his intellect clouded.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Without doubt, Sanjaya, having seen those mighty
car-warriors, the sons of Kunti, hath his mind filled with great anxiety
in consequence of those tigers among men.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having recovered consciousness, and being
comforted, Sanjaya addressed king Dhritarashtra in the midst of that
concourse of Kurus in that hall, saying, ‘Indeed, O king of kings, I saw
those great warriors, the sons of Kunti, thinned in body, in consequence
of the restraint in which they had lived in the place of the king of the
Matsyas. Hear, O King, with whom the Pandavas will contend against you.
With that hero Dhrishtadyumna as their ally, they will fight against you.
With that personage of virtuous soul, who never forsaketh truth through
anger or fear, temptation, or for the sake of wealth, of disputation; and
who is, O King, a very authority in matters of religion, himself being
the best of those that practise virtue;--with him, who hath never made an
enemy, the sons of Pandu will fight against you. He unto whom no one on
earth is equal in might of arms, and who, wielding his bow had brought
all kings under subjection, and who, vanquishing of old all the people of
Kasi and Anga and Magadha, as also the Kalingas;--with that Bhimasena
will the sons of Pandu fight against you. Indeed, he through whose might
the four sons of Pandu quickly could alight on the earth, having issued
forth from the (burning) house of lac that son of Kunti, Vrikodara, who
became the means of their rescue from the cannibal Hidimva; that son of
Kunti, Vrikodara, who became their refuge when the daughter of Yajnasena
was being carried away by Jayadratha; indeed, with that Bhima who
rescued the assembled Pandavas from the conflagration at Varanavata; even
with him (as their ally) will they fight against you. He, who for the
gratification of Krishna slew the Krodhavasas, having penetrated the
rugged and terrible mountains of Gandhamadana, he to whose arms hath been
imparted the might of ten thousand elephants; with that Bhimasena (as
their ally) the Pandavas will fight against you. That hero, who, for the
gratification of Agni, with Krishna only for his second, bravely
vanquished of yore Purandara in fight; he who gratified by combat that
God of gods, the trident-bearing lord of Uma--Mahadeva himself having the
mountains for his abode; that foremost of warriors who subjugated all the
kings of the earth--with that Vijaya (as their ally) the Pandavas will
encounter you in battle. That wonderful warrior Nakula, who vanquished
the whole of the western world teeming with Mlecchas, is present in the
Pandava camp. With that handsome hero, that unrivalled bowman, that son
of Madri, O Kauravya, the Pandavas will fight against you. He who
vanquished in battle the warriors of Kasi, Anga, and Kalinga,--with that
Sahadeva will the Pandavas encounter you in battle. He, who in energy
hath for his equals only four men on earth, viz., Aswatthaman and
Dhrishtaketu and Rukmi and Pradyumna,--with that Sahadeva, youngest in
years, that hero among men, that gladdener of Madri’s heart, with him, O
King, will you have a destructive battle. She, who, while living of yore
as the daughter of the king of Kasi, had practised the austerest
penances; she, who, O bull of the Bharata race, desiring even in a
subsequent life to compass the destruction of Bhishma, took her birth as
the daughter of Panchala, and accidentally became afterwards a male; who,
O tiger among men, is conversant with the merits and demerits of both
sexes; that invincible prince of the Panchala who encountered the
Kalingas in battle, with that Sikhandin skilled in every weapon, will the
Pandavas fight against you. She whom a Yaksha for Bhishma’s destruction
metamorphosed into a male, with that formidable bowman will the Pandavas
fight against you. With those mighty bowmen, brothers all, those five
Kekaya princes, with those heroes clad in mail will the Pandavas fight
against you. With that warrior of long arms, endued with great activity
in the use of weapons, possessed of intelligence and prowess incapable of
being baffled, with that Yuyudhana, the lion of the Vrishni race, will
you have to fight. He, who had been the refuge of the high-souled
Pandavas for a time, with that Virata, will ye have an encounter in
battle. The lord of Kasi, that mighty car-warrior who ruleth in Varanasi
hath become an ally of theirs; with him the Pandavas will fight against
you. The high-souled sons of Draupadi, tender in years but invincible in
battle, and unapproachable like snakes of virulent poison, with them,
will the Pandavas fight against you. He, that in energy is like unto
Krishna and in self-restraint unto Yudhishthira, with that Abhimanyu,
will the Pandavas fight against you. That war-like son of Sisupala,
Dhrishtaketu of great fame, who in energy is beyond comparison and who
when angry is incapable of being withstood in battle, with that king of
the Chedis who has joined the Pandavas at the head of an Akshauhini of
his own, will the sons of Pandu fight against you. He that is the refuge
of the Pandavas, even as Vasava is of the celestials, with that Vasudeva,
the Pandavas will fight against you. He also, O bull of Bharata race,
Sarabha the brother of the king of the Chedis, who again is united with
Karakarsa, with both these, the Pandavas will fight against you.
Sahadeva, the son of Jarasandha, and Jayatsena, both unrivalled heroes in
battle, are resolved upon fighting for the Pandavas. And Drupada too,
possessed of great might, and followed by a large force, and reckless of
his life, is resolved to fight for the Pandavas. Relying upon these and
other kings by hundreds, of both the eastern and northern countries, king
Yudhishthira the just, is prepared for battle.’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘All these named by thee are, indeed, endued with
great courage, but all of them together are equal to Bhima singly. My
fear, O child, from the wrathful Bhima is, indeed, very great, like that
of fat deer from an enraged tiger. I pass all my nights in sleeplessness,
breathing deep and hot sighs afraid of Vrikodara, O child, like an animal
of any other species afraid of the lion. Of mighty arms, and in energy
equal unto Sakra himself, I see not in this whole army even one that can
withstand him in battle. Exceedingly wrathful and determined in
animosity, that son of Kunti and Pandu smileth not even in jest, is mad
with rage, casteth his glances obliquely, and speaketh in a voice of
thunder. Of great impetuosity and great courage, of long arms and great
might, he will not, in battle, leave even one of my foolish sons alive.
Indeed, Vrikodara, that bull among the Kurus, whirling his mace in
battle, will, like a second Yama mace in hand slay all my sons who are
afflicted by a heavy calamity. Even now I see that terrible mace of his,
with eight sides made of steel, and adorned with gold, uplifted like a
Brahmana’s curse. As a lion of mighty strength among a flock of deer,
Bhima will range among my troops. He only (amongst his brothers) always
displayed his strength cruelly towards my sons. Eating voraciously, and
endued with great impetuosity, from his very childhood he hath been
behaving inimically towards my children. My heart trembleth (to remember)
that even in their childhood, Duryodhana and other sons of mine, while
fighting with him (sportively) were always ground down by the
elephant-like Bhima. Alas, my sons have always been oppressed by his
might, and it is that Bhima of terrible prowess that hath been the cause
of this rupture. Even now I behold Bhima, mad with rage, fighting in the
very van, and devouring the whole of my host consisting of men,
elephants, and steeds. Equal unto Drona and Arjuna in weapons, his speed
equal unto the velocity of the wind, and in wrath like unto Maheswara
himself, who is there, O Sanjaya, that would slay that wrathful and
terrible hero in battle? I think it to be a great gain that my sons were
not even then slain by that slayer of enemies who is endued with such
energy. How can a human being withstand the impetuosity of that warrior
in battle who slew Yakshas and Rakshasas of terrible might before? O
Sanjaya, even in his childhood he was never completely under my control.
Injured by my wicked sons, how can that son of Pandu come under my
control now? Cruel and extremely wrathful, he would break but not bend.
Of oblique glances and contracted eye-brows, how can he be induced to
remain quiet? Endued with heroism, of incomparable might and fair
complexion, tall like a palmyra tree, and in height taller than Arjuna by
the span of the thumb, the second son of Pandu surpasseth the very steeds
in swiftness, and elephants in strength, speaketh in indistinct accents,
and possesseth eyes having the hue of honey. As regards form and might,
even such was he in his very boyhood, as I truly heard long before from
the lips of Vyasa! Terrible and possessed of cruel might, when angry he
will destroy in battle with his iron mace cars and elephants and men and
horses. By acting against his wishes, that foremost of smiters who is
ever wrathful and furious, hath before been, O child, insulted by me.
Alas, how will my sons bear that mace of his which is straight, made of
steel, thick, of beautiful sides, adorned with gold, capable of slaying a
hundred, and producing a terrible sound when hurled at the foe? Alas, O
child, my foolish sons are desirous of crossing that inaccessible ocean
constituted by Bhima, which is really shoreless, without a raft on it,
immeasurable in depth, and full of currents impetuous as the course of
arrows. Fools in reality though boasting of their wisdom, alas, my
children do not listen to me even though I cry out. Beholding only the
honey they do not see the terrible fall that is before them. They that
will rush to battle with Death himself in that human shape, are certainly
doomed to destruction by the Supreme Ordainer, like animals within the
lion’s view. Full four cubits in length, endued with six sides and great
might, and having also a deadly touch, when he will hurl his mace from
the sling, how shall my sons, O child, bear its impetus? Whirling his
mace and breaking therewith the heads of (hostile) elephants, licking
with his tongue the corners of his mouth and drawing long breaths, when
he will rush with loud roars against mighty elephants, returning the
yells of those infuriated beasts that might rush against him, and when
entering the close array of cars he will slay, after taking proper aim,
the chief warriors before him, what mortal of my party will escape from
him looking like a blazing flame? Crushing my forces and cutting a
passage through them, that mighty armed hero, dancing with mace in hand,
will exhibit the scene, witnessed during the universal Dissolution at the
end of a Yuga. Like an infuriated elephant crushing trees adorned with
flowers, Vrikodara, in battle will furiously penetrate the ranks of my
sons. Depriving my warriors of their cars, drivers, steeds, and
flag-staff, and afflicting all warriors fighting from cars and the backs
of elephants, that tiger among men will, O Sanjaya, like the impetuous
current of Ganga throwing down diverse trees standing on its banks, crush
in battle the troops of my sons. Without doubt, O Sanjaya, afflicted by
the fear of Bhimasena, my sons and their dependents and all the allied
kings will fly in different directions. It was this Bhima who, having
entered of old, with Vasudeva’s aid, the innermost apartments of
Jarasandha, overthrew that king endued with great energy; that lord of
Magadha, the mighty Jarasandha, having fully brought under his subjection
the goddess Earth, oppressed her by his energy. That the Kauravas in
consequence of Bhishma’s prowess, and the Andhakas and the Vrishnis in
consequence of their policy, could not be subjugated by him was due only
to their good fortune. What could be more wonderful than that the heroic
son of Pandu, of mighty arms and without any weapons, having approached
that king, slew him in a trice? Like a venomous snake, whose poison hath
accumulated for years, Bhima will, O Sanjaya, vomit in battle the poison
of his wrath upon my sons! Like the foremost of the celestials, the great
Indra, smiting the Danavas with his thunderbolt, Bhimasena will, mace in
hand, slay all my sons! Incapable of being withstood or resisted, of
fierce impetus and powers, and with eyes of a coppery hue, I behold even
now that Vrikodara falling upon my sons. Without mace or bow, without car
or coat of mail, fighting with his bare arms only, what man is there that
can stand before him? Bhishma, that regenerate Drona, and Kripa the son
of Saradwat,--these are as much acquainted as I myself with the energy of
the intelligent Bhima. Acquainted with the practice of those that are
noble, and desirous of death in battle, these bulls among men will take
their stand in the van of our army. Destiny is everywhere powerful,
especially in the case of a male person, for beholding the victory of the
Pandavas in battle, I do not yet restrain my sons. These mighty bowmen of
mine, desirous of treading in that ancient track leading up to heaven,
will lay down their lives in battle, taking care, however, of earthly
fame. O child, my sons are the same to these mighty bowmen as the
Pandavas are to them, for all of them are grandsons of Bhishma and
disciples of Drona and Kripa. O Sanjaya, the little acceptable services
that we have been able to do unto these three venerable ones, will
certainly be repaid by them owing to their own noble dispositions. It is
said that death in battle of a Kshatriya, who hath taken up arms and
desireth to observe Kshatriya practices is, indeed, both good and
meritorious. I weep, however, for all those that will fight against the
Pandavas. That very danger hath now come which was foreseen by Vidura at
the outset. It seems, O Sanjaya, that wisdom is incapable of dispelling
woe; on the other hand, it is overwhelming woe that dispelleth wisdom.
When the very sages, that are emancipated from all worldly concerns and
that behold, standing aloof, all the affairs of the universe, are
affected by prosperity and adversity, what wonder is there that I should
grieve, I who have my affections fixed on a thousand things such as sons,
kingdom, wives, grandsons, and relatives? What good can possibly be in
store for me on the accession of such a frightful danger? Reflecting on
every circumstance, I see the certain destruction of the Kurus. That
match at dice seems to be the cause of this great danger of the Kurus.
Alas, this sin was committed from temptation by foolish Duryodhana,
desirous of wealth; I believe all this to be the untoward effect of
ever-fleeting Time that bringeth on everything. Tied to the wheel of
Time, like its periphery, I am not capable of flying away from it. Tell
me, O Sanjaya, where shall I go? What shall I do, and, how shall I do it?
These foolish Kauravas will all be destroyed, their Time having come.
Helplessly I shall have to hear the wailing of women when my hundred sons
will all be slain. Oh, how may death come upon me? As a blazing fire in
the summer season, when urged by the wind, consumeth dry grass, so will
Bhima, mace in hand, and united with Arjuna, slay all on my side!’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘He whom we have never heard to speak a falsehood,
he who hath Dhananjaya to fight for him, may have the sovereignty of even
the three worlds. Reflecting from day to day I do not find the warrior
who may, on his car, advance in battle against the wielder of Gandiva.
When that wielder of Gandiva will shoot winged arrows and Nalikas and
shafts capable of piercing the breast of warriors, there is no rival of
his in battle. If those bulls among men, those heroes,--Drona and
Karna,--those foremost of mighty men, versed in weapons and invincible in
battle, withstand him, the result may be very doubtful, but I am sure
that the victory will not be mine. Karna is both compassionate and
heedless, and the preceptor is aged and hath affection for his pupil.
Partha, however, is able and mighty, of firm grasp (of the bow). Terrible
will be the encounter between them, without resulting in any one’s
defeat. Conversant with weapons and endued with heroism, all of them have
earned great fame. They may relinquish the very sovereignty of the gods,
but not the chance of winning victory. There would be peace, without
doubt, upon the fall of either of these two (Drona and Karna) or of
Falguna. There is none, however, who can either slay or vanquish Arjuna.
Alas, how may his wrath that hath been excited against my foolish sons be
pacified. Others there are acquainted with the use of weapons, that
conquer or are conquered; but it is heard that Falguna always conquereth.
Three and thirty years have passed away since the time, when Arjuna,
having invited Agni, gratified him at Khandava, vanquishing all the
celestials. We have never heard of his defeat anywhere, O child. Like the
case of Indra, victory is always Arjuna’s, who hath for his charioteer in
battle Hrishikesa, endued with the same character and position. We hear
that the two Krishnas on the same car and the stringed Gandiva,--these
three forces,--have been united together. As regards ourselves, we have
not a bow of that kind, or a warrior like Arjuna, or a charioteer like
Krishna. The foolish followers of Duryodhana are not aware of this. O
Sanjaya, the blazing thunderbolt falling on the head leaveth something
undestroyed, but the arrows, O child, shot by Kiritin leave nothing
undestroyed. Even now I behold Dhananjaya shooting his arrows and
committing havoc around, picking off heads from bodies with his arrowy
showers! Even now I behold the arrowy conflagration, blazing all around,
issuing from the Gandiva, consuming in battle the ranks of my sons. Even
now it seemeth to me that, struck with panic at the rattle of
Savyasachin’s car, my vast army consisting of diverse forces is running
away in all directions. As a tremendous conflagration, wandering in all
directions, of swelling flames and urged by the wind, consumeth dry
leaves and grass, so will the great fame of Arjuna’s weapons consume all
my troops. Kiritin, appearing as a foe in battle, will vomit innumerable
arrows and become irresistible like all destroying Death urged forward by
the Supreme Ordainer. When I shall constantly hear of evil omens of
diverse kinds happening in the homes of the Kurus, and around them and on
the field of battle, then will destruction, without doubt, overtake the


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Endued with great prowess and eager for victory,
even as the sons themselves of Pandu are, so are their followers, who are
all resolved to sacrifice their lives and determined to win victory. Even
thou, O son, hast told me of my mighty enemies, viz., the kings of the
Panchalas, the Kekayas, the Matsyas, and the Magadhas. He, again, who at
his will can bring under his subjection all the three worlds with Indra
at their head, even that Creator of the universe, the mighty Krishna is
bent on giving victory upon the Pandavas. As regards Satyaki, he acquired
in no time the whole science of arms from Arjuna. That scion of Sini’s
race will stand on the battle-field, shooting his shafts like husbandmen
sowing seeds. The prince of Panchala, Dhrishtadyumna, that mighty
car-warrior of merciless deeds, acquainted with all superior weapons,
will fight with my host. Great is my fear, O child from the wrath of
Yudhishthira, from the prowess of Arjuna, and from the Twins and
Bhimasena. When those lords of men will, in the midst of my army, spread
their superhuman net of arrows, I fear my troops will not come out of it.
It is for this, O Sanjaya, that I weep. That son of Pandu, Yudhishthira,
is handsome, endued with great energy, highly blessed, possessed of
Brahma force, intelligent, of great wisdom, and virtuous soul. Having
allies and counsellors, united with persons ready for battle, and
possessing brothers and father-in-law who are all heroes and mighty
car-warriors, that tiger among men, the son of Pandu, is also endued with
patience, capable of keeping his counsels, compassionate, modest, of
powers incapable of being baffled, possessed of great learning, with soul
under proper control, ever waiting upon the aged, and subdued senses;
possessed thus of every accomplishment, he is like unto a blazing fire.
What fool, doomed to destruction and deprived of sense, will jump,
moth-like, into that blazing and irresistible Pandava fire! Alas, I have
behaved deceitfully towards him. The king, like unto a fire of long
flames, will destroy all my foolish sons in battle without leaving any
alive. I, therefore, think that it is not proper to fight with them. Ye
Kauravas, be ye of the same mind. Without doubt, the whole race of Kuru
will be destroyed, in case of hostilities being waged. This appears to me
very clearly, and if we act accordingly, my mind may have peace. If war
with them doth not seem beneficial to you, then we will strive to bring
about peace. Yudhishthira will never be indifferent when he sees us
distressed, for he censures me only as the cause of this unjust war.’”


“Sanjaya said, ‘It is even so, O great king, as thou, O Bharata, sayest.
On the event of battle, the destruction of the Kshatriyas by means of
Gandiva is certain. This, however, I do not understand, how when thou art
always wise and especially acquainted with the prowess of Savyasachin,
thou followest yet the counsels of thy sons. Having O bull of the Bharata
race, injured the sons of Pritha from the very beginning, having in fact,
committed sins repeatedly, this is not, O great king, the time (to
grieve). He that occupies the position of a father and a friend, if he is
always watchful and of good heart, should seek the welfare (of his
children); but he that injures, cannot be called a father. Hearing of the
defeat of the Pandavas at dice, thou hadst, O king, laughed like a child,
saying, “This is won, this is acquired!” When the harshest speeches were
addressed to the sons of Pritha, thou didst not then interfere, pleased
at the prospect of thy sons winning the whole kingdom. Thou couldst not
however, then see before the inevitable fall. The country of the Kurus,
including the region called Jangala is, O king, thy paternal kingdom.
Thou hast, however, obtained the whole earth by those heroes. Won by the
strength of their arms, the sons of Pritha made over to thee this extensive
empire. Thou thinkest, however, O best of kings, that all this was
acquired by thee. When thy sons, seized by the king of the Gandharvas,
were about to sink in a shoreless sea without a raft to save them, it was
Partha, O king, that brought them back. Thou hadst, like a child,
repeatedly laughed, O monarch, at the Pandavas when they were defeated at
dice and were going into exile. When Arjuna poureth a shower of keen
arrows, the very oceans dry up, let alone beings of flesh and blood.
Falguna is the foremost of all shooters; Gandiva is the foremost of all
bows; Kesava is the foremost of all beings; the Sudarsana is the foremost
of all weapons; and of cars, that furnished with the banner bearing the
blazing Ape on it is the foremost. That car of his, bearing all these and
drawn by white steeds, will, O king, consume us all in battle like the
upraised wheel of Time. O bull of the Bharata race, his is even now the
whole earth and he is the foremost of all kings, who hath Bhima and
Arjuna to fight for him. Beholding the host sinking in despair when
smitten by Bhima, the Kauravas headed by Duryodhana will all meet
destruction. Struck with the fear of Bhima and Arjuna, the sons, O king,
and the kings following them, will not, O lord, be able to win victory.
The Matsyas, the Panchalas, the Salwas and the Surasenas, all decline to
pay thee homage now and all disregard thee. Acquainted with the energy of
that wise king, all of them, however, have joined that son of Pritha, and
for their devotion to him they are always opposed to thy sons. He that,
by his evil deeds, afflicted the sons of Pandu, who are all wedded to
virtue and undeserving of destruction, he that hateth them even
now,--that sinful man, O monarch, who is none else than thy son,--should,
with all his adherents, be checked by all means. It behoveth thee not to
bewail in this strain. Even this was said by myself as well as by the
wise Vidura at the time of the gambling match at dice. These thy
lamentations in connection with the Pandavas, as if thou wert a helpless
person, are, O king, all useless.’”


“Duryodhana said, ‘Fear not, O king. Nor shouldest thou grieve for us. O
monarch, O lord, we are quite able to vanquish the foe in battle. When
the Parthas had been exiled to the woods, there came unto them the slayer
of Madhu with a vast army in battle array and capable of crushing hostile
kingdoms; and there also came unto them the Kekayas, and Dhrishtaketu,
and Dhrishtadyumna of Pritha’s race and numerous other kings in their
train; and all those great car-warriors were assembled in a place not far
from Indraprastha; and having assembled together they censured thee and
all the Kurus. And O Bharata, all those warriors with Krishna at their
head paid their homage unto Yudhishthira clad in deerskin and seated in
their midst. And all those kings then suggested to Yudhishthira that he
should take back the kingdom. And all of them desired to slay thee with
all thy followers. And hearing of all this, O bull of the Bharata race, I
addressed Bhishma and Drona and Kripa, struck with fear, O king, at the
prospect of the ruin that threatened our kindred. And I said unto them,
“I think the Pandavas will not abide by the agreement made by them;
Vasudeva desireth our utter extinction. I think also that with the
exception of Vidura all of you will be slain, although the chief of the
Kurus, Dhritarashtra, conversant with morality, will not be included in
the slaughter. O sire, effecting our complete destruction, Janardana
wisheth to bestow upon Yudhishthira the entire kingdom of the Kurus. What
should be done? Shall we surrender, or fly, or shall we fight the foe
giving up every hope of life? If, indeed, we stand up against them, our
defeat is certain, for all the kings of the earth are under
Yudhishthira’s command. The people of the realm are all annoyed with us,
and all our friends also are angry with us. All the kings of the earth
are speaking ill of us, and especially all our friends and relatives.
There can be no fault in our surrender, for from time immemorial, the
weaker party is known to conclude peace. I grieve, however, for that lord
of men, my blind father, who may, on my account, be overtaken by woe and
misery that is endless. [It is known to thee, O king, even before this,
that thy other sons were all opposed to the foe for pleasing me only].
Those mighty car-warriors, the sons of Pandu, will, indeed, avenge their
wrongs by destroying the whole race of king Dhritarashtra with all his
counsellors.”--(It was thus that I addressed them, and) seeing me
afflicted by great anxiety and my senses tortured, Drona and Bhishma and
Kripa and Drona’s son then addressed me, saying, “Fear not, O represser
of foes, for if the foe wage hostilities with us, they will not be able
to vanquish us when we take the field. Every one of us is singly capable
of vanquishing all the kings of the earth. Let them come. With keen-edged
arrows we will curb their pride. Inflamed with anger upon the death of
his father, this Bhishma (amongst us) in days of old had conquered all
the kings of the earth, on a single car. O Bharata, his wrath excited,
that best of the Kurus smote numberless ones amongst them, whereupon from
fear, they are surrendered to this Devavrata seeking his protection. That
Bhishma, united with us, is still capable of vanquishing the foe in
battle. Let thy fears, therefore, O bull of the Bharata race, be all

“Duryodhana continued, ‘Even this was the resolve then formed by these
heroes of immeasurable energy. The whole earth was formerly under the
foe’s command. Now, however, they are incapable of vanquishing us in
battle, for our enemies, the sons of Pandu, are now without allies and
destitute of energy. O bull of the Bharata race, the sovereignty of the
earth now resteth in me, and the kings also, assembled by me, are of the
same mind with me in weal or woe. Know thou, O best of the Kuru race,
that all these kings, O slayer of foes, can, for my sake, enter into the
fire or the sea. They are all laughing at thee, beholding thee filled
with grief and including in these lamentations like one out of his wits,
and affrighted at the praises of the foe. Every one amongst these kings
is able to withstand the Pandavas. Indeed, sire, every one regardeth
himself; let thy fears, therefore, be dispelled. Even Vasava himself is
not capable of vanquishing my vast host. The Self-create Brahma himself,
if desirous of slaying it, cannot annihilate it. Having given up all
hopes of a city, Yudhishthira craveth only five villages, affrighted, O
lord, at the army I have assembled and at my power. The belief thou
entertainest in the prowess of Vrikodara, the son of Kunti, is unfounded.
O Bharata, thou knowest not the extent of my prowess. There is none on
earth equal to me in an encounter with the mace. None have ever surpassed
me in such an encounter, nor will any surpass me. With devoted
application and undergoing many privations, I have lived in my
preceptor’s abode. I have completed my knowledge and exercises there. It
is for this that I have no fear either of Bhima or of others. When I
humbly waited upon Sankarshana (my preceptor), blessed be thou, it was
his firm conviction that Duryodhana hath no equal in the mace. In battle
I am Sankarshana’s equal, and in might there is none superior to me on
earth. Bhima will never be able to bear the blow of my mace in battle. A
single blow, O king, that I may wrathfully deal unto Bhima will
certainly, O hero, carry him without delay to the abode of Yama. O king,
I wish to see Vrikodara mace in hand. This hath been my long-cherished
desire. Struck in battle with my mace, Vrikodara, the son of Pritha, will
fall dead on the ground, his limbs shattered. Smitten with a blow of my
mace, the mountains of Himavat may split into a hundred thousands
fragments. Vrikodara himself knoweth this truth, as also Vasudeva and
Arjuna, that there is no one equal to Duryodhana in the use of mace. Let
thy fears, therefore, caused by Vrikodara be dispelled, for I will
certainly slay him in fierce conflict. Do not, O king, give way to
melancholy. And after I have slain him, numerous car-warriors of equal or
superior energy, will, O bull among the Bharatas, speedily throw Arjuna
down. Bhishma, Drona, Kripa and Drona’s son, Karna and Bhurisravas,
Salya, the king of Pragjyotish, and Jayadratha, the king of the
Sindhus,--every one of these, O Bharata, is singly capable of slaying the
Pandavas. When united together, they will, within a moment, send Arjuna
to the abode of Yama. There, indeed, is no reason why the united army of
all the kings will be incapable of vanquishing Dhananjaya singly. A
hundred times shrouded by immeasurable arrows shot by Bhishma and Drona
and Drona’s son and Kripa, and deprived of strength, Partha will have to
go unto Yama’s abode. Our grandsire born of Ganga is, O Bharata, superior
to Santanu himself. Like unto a regenerate saint, and incapable of being
withstood by the very celestials, he took his birth amongst men. There is
no slayer of Bhishma, O king, on earth, for his father, being gratified,
gave him the boon,--“Thou shalt not die except when it is thy own wish.”
 And Drona took his birth in a water-pot from the regenerate saint
Bharadwaja. And from Drona hath taken birth his son, having a knowledge
of the highest weapons. And this the foremost of preceptors, Kripa also,
hath taken his birth from the great Rishi Gautama. Born in a clump of
heath this illustrious one, I think, is incapable of being slain. Then
again, O king, the father, mother and maternal uncle of
Aswatthaman,--these three,--are not born of woman’s womb. I have that
hero also on my side. All these mighty car-warriors, O king, are like
unto celestials, and can, O bull of the Bharata race, inflict pain on
Sakra himself in battle. Arjuna is incapable of even looking at any one
of these singly. When united together, these tigers among men will
certainly slay Dhananjaya. Karna also, I suppose, is equal unto Bhishma
and Drona and Kripa. O Bharata, Rama himself had told him,--“Thou art
equal unto me.” Karna had two ear-rings born with him, of great brilliance
and beauty; for Sachi’s gratification Indra begged them of that repressor
of foes, in exchange, O king, of an infallible and terrible shaft. How
would Dhananjaya, therefore, escape with life from Karna who is protected
by that arrow? My success, therefore, O king, is as certain as a fruit
held fast in my own grasp. The utter defeat also of my foes is already
bruited about on earth. This Bhishma, O Bharata, killeth every day ten
thousand soldiers. Equal unto him are these bowmen, Drona, Drona’s son
and Kripa. Then, O repressor of foes, the ranks of the Samsaptaka
warriors have made this resolution,--“Either we will slay Arjuna or that
Ape-bannered warrior will slay us.” There are other kings also, who firm
in their resolve of slaying Savyasachin, regard him as unequal to
themselves. Why dost thou then apprehend danger from the Pandavas? When
Bhimasena will be slain, O Bharata, who else (amongst them) will fight?
Tell me this, O repressor of foes, if thou knowest any amongst the foes.
The five brothers, with Dhrishtadyumna and Satyaki,--these seven warriors
of the enemy, O king, are regarded as their chief strength. Those,
however, amongst us, that are our chief warriors, are Bhishma, Drona,
Kripa, Drona’s son, Karna, Somadatta, Vahlika, and Salya, the king of
Pragjyotisha, the two kings (Vindha and Anuvinda) of Avanti, and
Jayadratha; and then, O king, thy sons Dussasana, Durmukha, Dussaha,
Srutayu; Chitrasena, Purumitra, Vivinsati, Sala, Bhurisravas, and
Vikarna. O king, I have assembled one and ten Akshauhinis. The army of
the enemy is less than mine, amounting only to seven Akshauhinis. How
then can I be defeated? Vrihaspati hath said that an army which is less
by a third ought to be encountered. My army, O king, exceedeth that of
the foe by a third. Besides, O Bharata, I know that the enemy hath many
defects, while mine, O lord, are endued with many good virtues. Knowing
all this, O Bharata, as also the superiority of my force and the
inferiority of the Pandavas, it behoveth thee not to lose thy senses.’

“Having said this, O Bharata, that conqueror of hostile chiefs,
Duryodhana, asked Sanjaya again, anxious to known more about the doings
of the Pandavas.”


“Duryodhana said, ‘Having obtained, O Sanjaya, an army numbering seven
Akshauhinis, what is Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, with the other kings
in his company, doing in view of the war?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Yudhishthira, O king, is very cheerful in view of the
battle. And so also are Bhimasena and Arjuna. The twins also are
perfectly fearless. Desirous of making an experiment of the mantras
(obtained by him), Vibhatsu, the son of Kunti, yoked his celestial car
illuminating all the directions. Accoutred in mail, he looked like a mass
of clouds charged with lightning. After reflecting for a while, he
cheerfully addressed me, saying,--“Behold, O Sanjaya, these preliminary
signs. We will certainly conquer.” Indeed, what Vibhatsu said unto me
appeared to me to be true.’

“Duryodhana said, ‘Thou rejoicest to applaud those sons of Pritha
defeated at dice. Tell us now what sort of steeds are yoked unto Arjuna’s
car and what sort of banners are set up on it?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘O great king, the celestial artificer called Tashtri or
Bhaumana, aided by Sakra and Dhatri, created forms of diverse kinds and
great beauty for Arjuna’s car. And displaying divine illusion they placed
on his flagstaff those celestial forms, large and small, of great value.
And at Bhimasena’s request, Hanumat, the son of the Wind-god, will also
place his own image on it. And Bhaumana has, in its creation, had
recourse to such illusion that that banner covers, both perpendicularly
and laterally, an area of one yojana, and even if trees stand in its way,
its course cannot be impeded. Indeed, even as Sakra’s bow of diverse
colours is exhibited in the firmament, and nobody knows of what it is
made, so hath that banner been contrived by Bhaumana, for its form is
varied and ever varying. And as a column of smoke mixed with fire riseth
up, covering the sky and displaying many bright hues and elegant shapes,
so doth that banner contrived by Bhaumana rear its head. Indeed, it hath
no weight, nor is it capable of being obstructed. And unto that car are a
century of excellent celestial steeds of white hue and endued with the
speed of the mind, all presented by Chitrasena (the king of the
Gandharvas). And neither on earth, O king, nor in the sky, nor in heaven,
their course can be impeded. And formerly a boon hath been granted to the
effect that their number would always remain full how often so ever they
might be slain. And unto Yudhishthira’s car are yoked large steeds of
equal energy and white in colour like ivory. And unto Bhimasena’s car are
yoked coursers endued with the speed of the wind and the splendour of the
seven Rishis. And steeds of sable bodies and backs variegated like the
wings of the Tittri bird, all presented by his gratified brother Falguna,
and superior to those of the heroic Falguna himself, cheerfully carry
Sahadeva. And Nakula of Ajamida’s race, the son of Madri, is borne, like
Indra the slayer of Vritra, by excellent steeds, presented by the great
Indra himself, all mighty as the wind and endued with great speed. And
excellent steeds of large size, equal unto those of the Pandavas
themselves in years and strength, endued with great swiftness and of
handsome make, and all presented by the celestials, carry those youthful
princes, the sons of Subhadra and Draupadi.’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Whom hast thou, O Sanjaya, seen to have, from
affection, arrived there, and who will, on behalf of the Pandavas, fight
my son’s forces?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘I have seen Krishna, the foremost of the Andhakas and the
Vrishnis, arrived there, and Chekitana, as also Satyaki, otherwise called
Yuyudhana. And those two mighty car-warriors, proud of their strength and
famed over all the world, have joined the Pandavas, each with a separate
Akshauhini of troops. And Drupada, the king of the Panchalas, surrounded
by his ten heroic sons--Satyajit and others--headed by Dhrishtadyumna,
and well-protected by Sikhandin, and having furnished his soldiers with
every necessary thing, hath come there with a full Akshauhini, desirous
of honouring Yudhishthira. And that lord of earth, Virata, with his two
sons Sankha and Uttara, as also with those heroes Suryadatta and
others--headed by Madiraksha and surrounded by one Akshauhini of troops,
hath thus accompanied by brothers and sons, joined the son of Pritha. And
the son of Jarasandha, the king of Magadha, and Dhrishtaketu, the king of
the Chedis, have separately come there, each accompanied by an Akshauhini
of troops. And the five brothers of Kekaya, all having purple flags, have
joined the Pandavas, surrounded by an Akshauhini of troops. Then
numbering to this extent, have I seen assembled there, and these, on
behalf of the Pandavas, will encounter the Dhartarashtra host. That great
car-warrior, Dhrishtadyumna, who is acquainted with human, celestial,
Gandharva and Asura arrays of battle, leadeth that host. O king, Bhishma,
the son of Santanu, has been assigned to Sikhandin as his share; and
Virata with all his Matsya warriors will support Sikhandin. The mighty
king of the Madras hath been assigned to the eldest son of Pandu as his
share, though some are of opinion that those two are not well-matched.
Duryodhana with his sons and his ninety-nine brothers, as also the rulers
of the east and the south, have been assigned to Bhimasena as his share.
Karna, the son of Vikartana, and Jayadratha the king of the Sindhus, have
been assigned to Arjuna as his share. And those heroes also on the earth
who are incapable of being withstood and who are proud of their might,
have been accepted by Arjuna as his share. And those mighty bowmen, the
five royal brothers of Kekaya, will put forth their strength in battle,
accepting the Kekaya warriors (on Dhritarashtra’s side) as antagonists.
And in their share are included the Malavas also, and the Salwakas, as
also, the two famous warriors of the Trigarta host who have sworn to
conquer or die. And all the sons of Duryodhana and Dussasana, as also
king Vrihadvala, have been assigned to Subhadra’s son as his share. And
those great bowmen, the sons of Draupadi, having cars furnished with
gold-embroidered banners, all headed by Dhrishtadyumna, will, O Bharata,
advance against Drona. And Chekitana on his car desireth to encounter
Somadatta in single combat with him, while Satyaki is anxious to battle
against the Bhoja chief, Kritavarman. And the heroic son of Madri,
Sahadeva, who setteth up terrible roars in battle, hath intended to take
as his share thy brother-in-law, the son of Suvala. And Nakula also, the
son of Madravati, hath intended to take as his share the deceitful Uluka
and the tribes of the Saraswatas. As for all the other kings of the
earth, O Monarch, who will go to battle, the sons of Pandu have, by
naming them, distributed them in their own respective shares. Thus hath
the Pandava host been distributed into divisions. Do thou now, without
delay, with thy sons, act as thou thinkest best.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Alas, all my foolish sons, addicted to deceitful
dice, are already dead when it is the mighty Bhima with whom they desire
to encounter in the field of battle. All the kings of the earth too,
consecrated by Death himself for sacrifice, will rush to the Gandiva,
like so many moths into fire. Methinks my host is already put to flight
by those illustrious warriors formerly injured by me. Who, indeed, shall
follow to battle my warriors, whose ranks will be broken by the sons of
Pandu in the encounter? All of them are mighty car-warriors, possessed of
great bravery, of famous achievements, endued with great prowess, equal
unto the fiery sun in energy, and all victorious in battle. Those that
have Yudhishthira for their leader, the slayer of Madhu for their
protector, the heroic Savyasachin and Vrikodara for their warriors, and
Nakula, and Sahadeva, and Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Prishata, and
Satyaki, and Drupada, and Dhrishtaketu with his son, and Uttamaujas, and
the unconquerable Yudhamanyu of the Panchalas, and Sikhandin, and
Kshatradeva, and Uttara, the son of Virata, and Kasayas, the Chedis, the
Matsyas, the Srinjayas, Vabhru the son of Virata, the Panchalas, and the
Prabhadrakas, for fighting for them, those, indeed, from whom Indra
himself cannot, if they are unwilling, snatch this earth,--those heroes,
cool and steady, in fight, who can split the very mountains--alas, it is
with them that are endued with every virtue and possessed of superhuman
prowess that this wicked son of mine, O Sanjaya, desireth to fight,
disregarding me even though I am crying myself hoarse!’

“Duryodhana said, ‘Both the Pandavas and ourselves are of the same race;
both they and we tread upon the same earth, why dost thou think that
victory will declare itself for only the Pandavas? Bhishma, Drona, Kripa,
the unconquerable Karna, Jayadratha, Somadatta, and Aswatthaman--all
mighty bowmen and endued with great energy,--are incapable of being
vanquished by Indra himself united with the celestials. What sayst thou
then, O father of the Pandavas? All these noble and heroic kings of the
earth, bearing weapons, O father, are quite capable, for my sake, of
withstanding the Pandavas, while the latter are not capable of even
gazing at my troops. I am powerful enough to encounter in battle the
Pandavas with their sons. O Bharata, all those rulers of the earth, who
are anxious for my welfare, will certainly seize all the Pandavas like a
herd of young deer by means of net. I tell thee, in consequence of our
crowds of cars and snares of arrows, the Panchalas and the Pandavas will
all be routed.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O Sanjaya, this my son speaketh like a mad man, for
he is incapable of vanquishing in battle Yudhishthira the just. This
Bhishma truly knoweth the might of the famous, powerful, virtuous, and
high-souled Pandavas and their sons, for he doth not wish a battle with
those illustrious ones. But tell me again O Sanjaya, of their movements.
Tell me, who are inciting those illustrious and mighty bowmen endued with
great activity, like priests enkindling (Homa) fires with libations of
clarified butter?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘O Bharata, Dhrishtadyumna is always urging the Pandavas
to war, saying, “Fight ye, best among the Bharatas. Do not entertain the
least fear. All those rulers of the earth, who, courted by
Dhritarashtra’s son, will become in that fierce encounter targets of
showers of weapons,--indeed, I alone will encounter all those angry kings
assembled together with their relatives, like a whale seizing little
fishes from the water. Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Karna and Drona’s
son and Salya and Suyodhana,--them all I withstand, like the bank
resisting the swelling sea.” Unto him saying thus, the virtuous king
Yudhishthira said, “The Panchalas and the Pandavas wholly depend upon thy
prowess and steadiness. Rescue us safely from the war. I know, O
mighty-armed one, that thou art firm in the duties of the Kshatriya
order. Thou art, indeed, quite competent to smite alone the Kauravas.
When the latter, eager for fight, will stand before us, what thou, O
repressor of foes, wilt arrange, will certainly be for our good. Even
this is the opinion of those acquainted with the scriptures, that the
hero, who, displaying his prowess, relieth on those that after the rout run
away from the battle-field, seeking for protection, is to be bought with
a thousand. Thou, O bull among men, art brave, mighty, and powerful.
Without doubt, thou art that deliverer of those that are over-powered
with fear on the field of battle.” And when the righteous Yudhishthira
the son of Kunti said this, Dhrishtadyumna fearlessly addressed me in
these words, “Go thou, O Suta, without delay, and say unto all those that
have come to fight for Duryodhana, say unto the Kurus of the Pratipa
dynasty with the Vahlikas, the son of Saradwata and Karna and Drona, and
Drona’s son, and Jayadratha, and Dussasana, and Vikarna and king
Duryodhana, and Bhishma,--Do not suffer yourselves to be slain by Arjuna,
who is protected by the celestials. Before that happens, let some good
man approach Yudhishthira and entreat that son of Pandu, that best of
men, to accept the kingdom (surrendered by them) without delay. There is
no warrior on the earth like unto Savyasachin, son of Pandu, of prowess
incapable of being baffled. The celestial car of the holder of Gandiva is
protected by the very gods. He is incapable of being vanquished by human
beings. Do not, therefore, bend your mind to war!”’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Yudhishthira the son of Pandu is endued with
Kshatriya energy and leadeth the Brahmacharya mode of life from his very
youth. Alas, with him these foolish sons of mine desire to fight,
disregarding me that am thus bewailing. I ask thee, O Duryodhana, O
foremost of the Bharata race, desist from hostility. O chastiser of foes,
under any circumstances, war is never applauded. Half the earth is quite
enough for the maintenance of thyself and all thy followers. Give back
unto the sons of Pandu, O chastiser of foes, their proper share. All the
Kauravas deem just this to be consistent with justice, that thou shouldst
make peace with the high-souled sons of Pandu. Reflect thus, O son, and
thou wilt find that this thy army is for thy own death. Thou
understandest not this from thy own folly. I myself do not desire war,
nor Vahlika, nor Bhishma, nor Drona, nor Aswatthaman, nor Sanjaya, nor
Somadatta, nor Salya, nor Kripa, nor Satyavrata, nor Purumitra, nor
Bhurisravas,--in fact, none of these desireth war. Indeed, those warriors
upon whom the Kauravas, when afflicted by the foe, will have to rely, do
not approve of the war. O child, let that be acceptable to thee. Alas,
thou dost not seek it of thy own will, but it is Karna and the
evil-minded Dussasana and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, that are leading
thee to it.’

“Duryodhana said, ‘I challenge the Pandavas to battle, without depending
upon thyself, Drona, or Aswatthaman, or Sanjaya, or Vikarna, or Kamvoja,
or Kripa, or Vahlika, or Satyavrata, or Purumitra, or Bhurisravas, or
others of thy party. But, O bull among men, only myself and Karna, O
sire, are prepared to celebrate the sacrifice of battle with all the
necessary rites, making Yudhishthira the victim. In that sacrifice, my
car will be the altar; my sword will be the smaller ladle, my mace, the
large one, for pouring libations; my coat of mail will be the assembly of
spectators; my four steeds will be the officiating priests; my arrows
will be the blades of Kusa grass; and fame will be the clarified butter.
O king, performing, in honour of Yama, such a sacrifice in battle, the
ingredients of which will all be furnished by ourselves, we will return
victoriously covered with glory, after having slain our foes. Three of
us, O sire, viz., myself and Karna and my brother Dussasana,--will slay
the Pandavas in battle. Either I, slaying the Pandavas, will sway this
Earth, or the sons of Pandu, having slain me, will enjoy this Earth. O
king, O thou of unfading glory, I would sacrifice my life, kingdom,
wealth, everything, but would not be able to live side by side with the
Pandavas. O venerable one, I will not surrender to the Pandavas even that
much of land which may be covered by the sharp point of a needle.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I now abandon Duryodhana for ever. I nevertheless
grieve for you all, ye kings, that will follow this fool who is about to
proceed to Yama’s abode. Like tigers among a herd of deer, those foremost
of smiters--the sons of Pandu,--will smite down your principal leaders
assembled for battle. Methinks, the Bharata host, like a helpless woman,
will be afflicted and crushed and hurled to a distance by Yuyudhana of
long arms. Adding to the strength of Yudhishthira’s army, which without
him was already sufficient, Sini’s son will take up his stand on the
field of battle and scatter his arrows like seeds on a cultivated field.
And Bhimasena will take up his position in the very van of the
combatants, and all his soldiers will fearlessly stand in his rear, as
behind a rampart. Indeed, when thou, O Duryodhana, wilt behold elephants,
huge as hills, prostrated on the ground with their tusks disabled, their
temples crushed and bodies dyed with gore,--in fact, when thou wilt see
them lying on the field of battle like riven hills, then, afraid of a
clash with him, thou wilt remember these my words. Beholding thy host
consisting of cars, steeds, and elephants, consumed by Bhimasena, and
presenting the spectacle of a wide-spread conflagration’s track, thou
wilt remember these my words. If ye do not make peace with the Pandavas,
overwhelming calamity will be yours. Slain by Bhimasena with his mace, ye
will rest in peace. Indeed, when thou wilt see the Kuru host levelled to
the ground by Bhima, like a large forest torn up by the roots, then wilt
thou remember these my words.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having said this unto all those rulers of the
earth, the king addressing Sanjaya again, asked him as follows.”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Tell me, O thou of great wisdom, what high-souled
Vasudeva and Dhananjaya said. I am anxious to hear from thee all about

“Sanjaya said, ‘Listen, O king, as I tell thee the state in which I found
Krishna and Dhananjaya. I will also, O Bharata, tell thee what those
heroes said, O king, with looks bent down and hands joined together, and
with senses well restrained, I entered the inner apartments for
conferring with those gods among men. Neither Abhimanyu nor the Twins can
repair to that place where are the two Krishnas and Draupadi and lady
Satyabhama. There I beheld those chastisers of foes, exhilarated with
Bassia wine, their bodies adorned with garlands of flowers. Attired in
excellent robes and adorned with celestial ornaments, they sat on a
golden dais, decked with numerous gems, and covered over with carpets of
diverse texture and hue. And I beheld Kesava’s feet resting upon Arjuna’s
lap while those of the high-souled Arjuna rested upon the laps of Krishna
and Satyabhama. Partha then pointed out to me (for a seat) a foot-stool
made of gold. Touching it with my hand, I seated myself down on the
ground. And when he withdraw his feet from the foot-stool, I beheld
auspicious marks on both his soles. Those consisted of two longitudinal
lines running from heels to fore-toe. O sire, endued with black
complexions, of high statures, and erect like Sala trunks, beholding
those youthful heroes, both seated on the same seat, a great fear seized
me. They seemed to me to be Indra and Vishnu seated together, though
Duryodhana of dull sense knoweth it not, in consequence of his reliance on
Drona and Bhishma and on the loud vaunts of Karna. That very moment, I
was convinced that the wishes of Yudhishthira the just, who had those two
for obeying his orders, were certain to succeed. Being hospitably
entertained with food and drink, and honoured with other courtesies, I
conveyed to them thy message, placing my joined hands on my head. Then
Partha, removing Kesava’s auspicious foot from his lap, with his hand
scarred by the flappings of the bow-string, urged him to speak. Sitting
up erect like Indra’s banner, adorned with every ornament, and resembling
Indra himself in energy, Krishna then addressed me. And the words which
that best of speakers said were sweet, charming and mild, though awful
and alarming to the son of Dhritarashtra. Indeed, the words uttered by
Krishna, who alone is fit to speak, were of correct emphasis and accent,
and pregnant with meaning, though heart-rending in the end. And Vasudeva
said, “O Sanjaya, say thou these words unto the wise Dhritarashtra and in
the hearing of that foremost of the Kurus, Bhishma, and also of Drona,
having first saluted at our request, O Suta, all the aged ones and having
enquired after the welfare of the younger ones, ‘Do ye celebrate diverse
sacrifices, making presents unto the Brahmanas, and rejoice with your
sons and wives, for a great danger threatens ye? Do ye give away wealth
unto deserving persons, beget desirable sons, and do agreeable offices to
those that are dear to thee, for king Yudhishthira is eager for victory?’”
 While I was at a distance, Krishna with tears addressing me said, “That
debt, accumulating with time, hath not yet been paid off by me. Ye have
provoked hostilities with that Savyasachin, who hath for his bow the
invincible Gandiva, of fiery energy, and who hath me for his helpmate.
Who, even if he were Purandara himself, would challenge Partha having me
for his help-mate, unless, of course, his span of life were full? He that
is capable of vanquishing Arjuna in battle is, indeed, able to uphold the
Earth with his two arms, to consume all created things in anger and hurl
the celestials from Heaven. Among the celestials, Asuras, and men, among
Yakshas, Gandharvas, and Nagas, I do not find the person that can
encounter Arjuna in battle. That wonderful story which is heard of an
encounter in the city of Virata between a single person on one side and
innumerable warriors on the other, is sufficient proof of this. That ye
all fled in all directions being routed in the city of Virata by that son
of Pandu singly, is sufficient proof of this. Might, prowess, energy,
speed, lightness of hand, indefatiguableness, and patience are not to be
found in any one else save Partha.” Thus spoke Hrishikesa cheering up
Partha by his words and roaring like rain-charged clouds in the
firmament. Having heard these words of Kesava, the diadem-decked Arjuna,
of white steeds, also spoke to the same effect.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Having heard these words of Sanjaya, the monarch
endued with the eye of wisdom, took that speech into his consideration as
regards its merits and demerits. And having counted in detail the merits
and demerits as far as he could, and having exactly ascertained the
strength and weakness of both parties, the learned and intelligent king,
ever desirous of victory to his sons, then began to compare the powers of
both sides. And having at last ascertained that the Pandavas were endued
with strength and energy both human and divine, and that the Kurus were
much weaker Dhritarashtra said unto Duryodhana, “This anxiety, O
Duryodhana, always filleth me. Indeed, it doth not leave me. Truly, it
seemeth that I behold it with my eye. This conviction is not a matter of
inference. All created beings show great affection for their offsprings,
and do, to the best of their power, what is agreeable and beneficial to
them. This is generally to be seen also in the case of benefactors. They
that are good always desire to return the good done to them and to do
what is highly agreeable to their benefactors. Remembering what was done
to him to Khandava, Agni will, no doubt, render aid to Arjuna in this
terrible encounter between the Kurus and the Pandavas. And from parental
affection, Dharma, and other celestials duly invoked, will come together
to the aid of the Pandavas. I think that to save them from Bhishma and
Drona and Kripa, the celestials will be filled with wrath, resembling the
thunderbolt in its effects. Endued with energy and well-versed in the use
of weapons, those tigers among men, the sons of Pritha, when united with
the celestials, will be incapable of being even gazed upon by human
warriors. He who hath the irresistible, excellent and celestial Gandiva
for his bow, he who hath a couple of celestial quivers obtained from
Varuna,--large, full of shafts, and inexhaustible, he on whose banner,
that is unobstructed like smoke in its action, is stationed the
monkey-image of celestial origin, whose car is unequalled on the earth
girt by the four seas, and the rattle of which as heard by men is like
the roar of the clouds, and which like the rolling of the thunder
frightens the foe; he whom the whole world regards as superhuman in
energy; he whom all the kings of the earth know to be the vanquisher of
the very gods in battle; he that taketh up five hundred arrows at a time
and in the twinkling of the eye, shooteth them, unseen by other, to a
great distance; that son of Pritha and tiger among car-warriors and
chastiser of foes, whom Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Drona’s son and
Salya, the king of the Madras, and in fact, all impartial persons, regard
as incapable of being vanquished by even earthly kings of superhuman
prowess, when ready for fight who shooteth at one stretch full five
hundred arrows, and who is equal unto Kartavirya in strength of arms;
that great bowman, Arjuna, equal unto Indra or Upendra in prowess,--I
behold that great warrior committing a great havoc in this terrible
battle. O Bharata, reflecting day and night on this, I am unhappy and
sleepless, through anxiety for the welfare of the Kurus. A terrible
destruction is about to overtake the Kurus, if there is nothing but peace
for ending this quarrel. I am for peace with the Parthas and not for war.
O child, I always deem the Pandavas mightier than the Kurus.”’”


Vaisampayana said, “Hearing these words of his father, the passionate
son of Dhritarashtra inflamed with great wrath, again said these words,
of envy, of “Thou thinkest the Parthas having the celestials for their
allies, are incapable of being vanquished. Let this thy fear, O best of
kings, be dispelled. The gods attained to their divinity for absence of
desire, covetousness, and of enmity, as also for their indifference to
all worldly affairs. Formerly, Dwaipayana-Vyasa and Narada of great
ascetic austerities, and Rama, the son of Jamadagni, told us this. The
gods never like human beings to engage in work, O bull of the Bharata race,
from desire, or wrath, or covetousness, or envy. Indeed, if Agni, or
Vayu, or Dharma, or Indra, or the Aswins had ever engaged themselves in
works from worldly desire, then the sons of Pritha could never have
fallen into distress. Do not, therefore, by any means, indulge in such
anxiety, because the gods, O Bharata, always set their eyes on affairs
worthy of themselves. If, however, envy or lust become noticeable in the
gods in consequence of their yielding to desire, then, according to what
has been ordained by the gods themselves, such envy or lust can never
prevail. Charmed by me, Agni will be instantly extinguished, even if he
blazes up all around for consuming all creatures. The energy with which
the gods are endued is, indeed, great, but know, O Bharata, that mine is
greater than that of the gods. If the Earth herself cleaves in twain, or
mountain crests split, I can re-unite them, O king, by my incantations
before the eyes of all. If for the destruction of this universe of
animate and inanimate, mobile and immobile creatures, there happeneth a
terrific tempest or stony shower of loud roar, I can always, from
compassion for created beings, stop it before the eyes of all. When the
waters are solidified by me, even cars and infantry can move over them.
It is I who set agoing all the affairs of both gods and Asuras. Unto
whatever countries I go with my Akshauhinis on any mission, my steeds
move whithersoever I desire. Within my dominions there are no fearful
snakes, and protected by my incantations, creatures within my territories
are never injured by others that are frightful. The very clouds, O king,
pour, as regards those dwelling in my dominions, showers as much as they
desire and when they desire. All my subjects, again, are devoted to
religion and are never subject to calamities of season. The Aswins, Vayu,
Agni, Indra with the Maruts, and Dharma will not venture to protect my
foes. If these had been able to protect by their might my adversaries,
never would the sons of Pritha have fallen into such distress for three
and ten years. I tell thee truly that neither gods, nor Gandharvas nor
Asuras nor Rakshasas are capable of saving him who hath incurred my
displeasure; I have never before been baffled as regards the reward to
punishment that I intended to bestow or inflict on friend or foe. If
ever, O repressor of foes, I said this is to be,--that hath always been.
People, therefore, have always known me as a speaker of truth. All
persons can bear witness to my greatness, the fame of which hath spread
all around. I mention this, O king, for thy information and not from
pride. Never had I, O king, praised myself before, for to praise one’s
own self is mean. Thou wilt hear of defeat of the Pandavas and the
Matsyas, the Panchalas and the Kekayas, of Satyaki and Vasudeva, at my
hands. Indeed, as rivers, on entering the ocean, are entirely lost in it,
so the Pandavas with all their followers, on approaching me, will all be
annihilated. My intelligence is superior, my energy is superior, my
prowess is superior, my knowledge is superior, my resources are superior
by far to those of the Pandavas. Whatever knowledge of weapons is in the
Grandsire, in Drona, and Kripa, and Salya, and Shalya, exist in me as

“‘Having said these words, O Bharata, Duryodhana, that repressor of foes,
again asked Sanjaya, in order to ascertain the proceedings of
Yudhishthira bent upon war.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Without much minding Dhritarashtra, the son of
Vichitravirya who was about to ask of Partha, Karna said unto
Dhritarashtra’s son these words, cheering up the spirit of the assembled
Kurus, ‘Coming to know of the false pretence under which I obtained the
Brahma weapon of old from Rama, the latter told me,--“When thy hour will
come thy memory will fail thee in respect of this weapon.” Even for so
great an offence I was cursed so lightly by that great Rishi, my
preceptor. That great Rishi of fierce energy is capable of consuming even
the entire Earth with her seas. By attention and personal bravery, I
appeased his heart. I have that weapon with me still, and my period is
not yet run. I am, therefore, fully competent (to win victory). Let the
responsibility be mine. Having obtained the favour of that Rishi, I will
slay within the twinkling of an eye the Panchalas, the Karushas, the
Matsyas, and the sons of Pritha with their sons and grandsons, and bestow
on thee numerous regions won by my weapons. Let the Grandsire and Drona
and all the kings stay with thee. I will slay the sons of Pritha,
marching forth with the chief warriors of my army. Let that task be
mine.’ Unto him speaking thus, Bhishma said, ‘What sayest thou, O Karna?
Thy intellect is clouded at the approach of thy hour. Knowest thou not, O
Karna, that when the chief is slain, the sons of Dhritarashtra will all
be slain? Having heard of the feat achieved by Dhananjaya, with Krishna
only as his ally, at the burning of the Khandava forest, it behoveth thee
with thy friends and relatives to restrain thy mind. The shaft that the
illustrious and adorable chief of the celestials, the great Indra, gave
thee, thou wilt see, will be broken and reduced to ashes when struck by
Kesava with his discus. That other shaft of serpentine mouth that shineth
(in thy quiver) and is respectfully worshipped by thee with flowery
garlands, will, O Karna, when struck by the son of Pandu with his shafts,
perish with thee. O Karna, the slayer of Vana and Bhumi’s son (Naraka),
Vasudeva himself, who hath, in the thickest of battle, slain foes equal
and even superior to thee, protecteth the diadem-decked Arjuna.’

“Karna said, ‘Without doubt, the chief of the Vrishnis is even so.
Further, I admit, that that high-souled one is even more than that. Let,
however, the Grandsire listen to the effect of the bit of harsh speech
that he hath uttered. I lay down my weapons. The Grandsire will
henceforth behold me in court only and not in battle. After thou hast
become quiet, the rulers of the earth will behold my prowess in this

Vaisampayana continued, “Having said this, that great bowman (Karna),
leaving the court went to his own abode. Bhishma, however, O king,
addressing Duryodhana in the midst of the Kurus, and laughing aloud,
said, ‘How truly doth the Suta’s son keep his promise. Why having
repeatedly given his pledge, saying,--The kings of Avanti and Kalinga,
Jayadratha, and Chediddhaja and Valhika standing as spectators, I will
slay hostile warriors by thousands and tens of thousands,--how will he
discharge that obligation? Having distributed his divisions in
counter-array and scattering heads by thousands, behold the havoc
committed by Bhimasena. Indeed, that moment, when, representing himself
as a Brahmana unto the holy and blameless Rama, Vikartana’s son obtained
that weapon, that vile wretch lost both his virtue and asceticism.’ O
king of kings, when Bhishma said this after Karna had gone away giving up
his weapons, Duryodhana, that foolish son of Vichitravirya’s son,
addressed Santanu’s son in these words.”


“Duryodhana said, ‘The sons of Pritha are all as other men, and are, in
fact, of earthly birth as other men. Why then dost thou think that they
are sure to win victory? Both ourselves and they are equal in energy, in
prowess, in age, in intelligence, in knowledge of the scriptures, in
weapons, in the art of war, in lightness of hand, and in skill. All of us
are of the of same species, all being men by birth. How then, O
grandsire, dost thou know that victory will be theirs? I do not seek the
accomplishment of my aims by relying upon thee, or Drona, or Kripa or
Valhika, or upon the other kings. Myself, and Karna, the son of
Vikartana, and my brother Dussasana, will slay in battle the five sons of
Pandu by sharpened arrows. Then shall we, O king, gratify Brahmanas by
performing great sacrifices of diverse kinds, with abundant Dakshinas,
and by gifts of kine and horses and wealth. When my troops will drag by
the aid of their mighty arms the Pandavas in battle, like hunters
dragging a herd of deer by a net, or whirlpools drawing a crewless boat,
then the sons of Pandu, beholding us their foe, supported by crowds and
cars and elephants, will give up their pride, and not they alone but
Kesava also.’ Hearing this, Vidura said, ‘Venerable persons of infallible
knowledge say that in this world self-restraint is highly beneficial. In
the case of Brahmana especially, it is his duty. He whose self-restraint
followeth charity, asceticism, knowledge, and study of the Vedas, always
winneth success, forgiveness, and the fruit of his gifts. Self-restraint
enhanceth energy, and is an excellent and holy attribute. Freed from sin
and his energy increased by Self-restraint, one acquireth even Brahma
through it. People are always afraid of those that are without
self-restraint, as if the latter were very Rakshasas. And it is for
keeping these under check that the self-Existent created the Kshatriyas.
It hath been said that Self-restraint is an excellent vow for all the
four modes of life. I regard those attributes as its indications which
owe their origin to self-restraint. Those indications are forgiveness,
firmness of mind, abstention from injury, an equal regard for all things,
truthfulness of speech, simplicity, control over the senses, patience,
gentleness of speech, modesty, steadiness, liberality, mildness,
contentment, and faith, he that hath self-restraint casteth off lust,
avarice, pride, wrath, sleep, boastfulness, self-esteem, malice, and
sorrow. Purity and absence of crookedness and fraud, are the distinctive
marks of a man of self-restraint. He that is not covetous, that is
satisfied with a little, that regardeth not objects provoking lust, and
that is as grave as the ocean, is known as a man of self-restraint. He
that is well-behaved, of good disposition and contented soul, that
knoweth his own self is possessed of wisdom, winneth great regard here
and attaineth to a blissful state hereafter. Possessed of mature wisdom,
he that hath no fear of other creatures and whom other creatures fear
not, is said to be the foremost of men. Seeking the good of all, he is a
universal friend, and no one is made unhappy by him. Endued with gravity,
like that of the ocean and enjoying contentment in consequence of his
wisdom, such a man is always calm and cheerful. Regulating their conduct
according to the acts practised by the righteous olden times and before
their eyes, they that are self-restrained, being devoted to peace,
rejoice in this world. Or, abandoning Action, because contented in
consequence of Knowledge, such a person, with his senses under control
moveth quickly in this world, waiting for the inevitable hour and
absorption into Brahma. And as the track of feathery creatures in the sky
is incapable of being perceived, so the path of the sage enjoying
contentment in consequence of Knowledge is not visible. Abandoning the
world he that betaketh himself, in pursuit of emancipation, to the
Sannyasa mode of life, hath bright and eternal regions assigned to him in


“Vidura said, ‘We have heard, O sire, from old men, that once on a time a
fowler spread his net on the ground for catching feathery denizens of the
air. And in that net were ensnared at the same time two birds that lived
together. And taking the net up, the two winged creatures soared together
into the air. And seeing them soar into the sky, the fowler, without
giving way to despair, began to follow them in the direction they flew,
Just then, an ascetic living in a hermitage (close by), who had finished
his morning prayers, saw the fowler running in that manner hoping still
to secure the feathery creatures. And seeing that tenant of the earth
quickly pursuing those tenants of the air, the ascetic, O Kaurava,
addressed him in this Sloka,--O fowler, it appears very strange and
wonderful to me that thou, that art a treader of the earth, pursuest yet
a couple of creatures that are tenants of the air. The fowler said,
“These two, united together, are taking away my snare. There, however,
where they will quarrel they will come under my control.”’

“Vidura continued, ‘The two birds, doomed to death, soon after
quarrelled. And when the foolish pair quarrelled, they both fell on the
earth. And when, ensnared in the meshes of death, they began to contend
angrily against each other, the fowler approached unperceived and sized
them both. Even thus those kinsmen who fall out with one another for the
sake of wealth fall into the hands of the enemy like the birds I have
cited, in consequence of their quarrel. Eating together, talking
together,--these are the duties of kinsmen, and not contention under any
circumstances. Those kinsmen, that with loving hearts wait on the old,
become unconquerable like a forest guarded by lions. While those, O bull
of the Bharata race, that having won enormous riches nevertheless, behave
like mean-minded men, always contribute to the prosperity of their foes.
Kinsmen, O Dhritarashtra, O bull of the Bharata race, are like charred
brands, which blaze up when united but only smoke when disunited. I will
now tell thee something else that I saw on a mountain-breast. Having
listened to that also, do, O Kaurava, what is for thy best. Once on a
time we repaired to the northern mountain, accompanied by some hunters
and a number of Brahmanas, fond of discoursing on charms and medicinal
plants. That northern mountain, Gandhamadana, looked like a grove. As its
breast was overgrown on all sides with trees and diverse kinds of
luminous medicinal herbs, it was inhabited by Siddhas and Gandharvas. And
there we all saw a quantity of honey, of a bright yellow colour and of
the measure of a jar, placed on an inaccessible precipice of the
mountain. That honey, which was Kuvera’s favourite drink, was guarded by
snakes of virulent poison. And it was such that a mortal, drinking of it
would win immortality, a sightless man obtain sight, and an old man would
become a youth. It was that those Brahmanas conversant with sorcery spoke
about that honey. And the hunters, seeing that honey, desired, O king, to
obtain it. And they all perished in that inaccessible mountain-cave
abounding with snakes. In the same way, this thy son desireth to enjoy
the whole earth without a rival. He beholdeth the honey, but seeth not,
from folly, the terrible fall. It is true, Duryodhana desireth an
encounter in battle with Savyasachin, but I do not see that energy or
prowess in him which may carry him safe through it. On a single car
Arjuna conquered the whole earth. At the head of their hosts Bhishma and
Drona and others were frightened by Arjuna and utterly routed at the city
of Virata. Remember what took place on that occasion. He forgiveth still,
looking up to thy face and waiting to know what thou wouldst do. Drupada,
and the king of Matsyas, and Dhananjaya, when angry, will, like flames of
fire urged by the wind, leave no remnant (of thy army). O Dhritarashtra,
take king Yudhishthira on thy lap since both parties can, under no
circumstances, have victory when thy will be engaged in battle.’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Consider, O Duryodhana, O dear son, what I tell
thee. Like an ignorant traveller thou thinkest, the wrong path to be the
right one, since thou art desirous of robbing the energy of the five sons
of Pandu, who are even as the five elements of the universe in their
subtle form upholding all mobile and immobile things. Without the certain
sacrifice of thy life thou art unable to vanquish Yudhishthira, the son
of Kunti, who is the foremost of all virtuous persons in this world.
Alas, like a tree defying the mighty tempest, thou chafest at Bhimasena
who hath not his peer (among men) in might and who is equal unto Yama
himself in battle. What man of sense would encounter in battle the
wielder of Gandiva, who is the foremost of all wielders of weapons, as
the Meru among mountains? What man is there whom Dhrishtadyumna, the
prince of Panchala, cannot overthrow, shooting his arrows among the foes,
like the chief of the celestials hurling his thunderbolt? That honoured
warrior among the Andhakas and the Vrishnis, the irresistible Satyaki,
ever engaged in the good of the Pandavas, will also slaughter thy host.
What man of sense, again, would encounter the lotus-eyed Krishna, who, as
regards the measure of his energy and power, surpasseth the three worlds?
As regards Krishna, his wives, kinsmen, relatives, his own soul and the
whole earth, put on one scale, weigheth with Dhananjaya on the other.
That Vasudeva, upon whom Arjuna relieth, is irresistible, and that host
where Kesava is, becometh irresistible everywhere. Listen, therefore, O
child, to the counsels of those well-wishers of thine whose words are
always for thy good. Accept thou thy aged grandsire, Bhishma, the son of
Santanu, as thy guide. Listen thou to what I say, and what these
well-wishers of the Kurus, Drona, and Kripa, and Vikarna, and king
Vahlika say. These all are as I myself. It behoveth thee to regard them
as much as thou regardest me, since, O Bharata, all these are conversant
with morality and bear affection to thee as much as I myself do. The
panic and rout, before thy eyes, at the city of Virata, of all thy troops
with thy brothers, after surrender of the king,--indeed, that wonderful
story that is heard of an encounter at that city between one and many,
are sufficient proof (of the wisdom of what I say). When Arjuna singly
achieves all that, what will not the Pandavas achieve when united
together? Take them by the hands as thy brothers, and cherish them with a
share of the kingdom.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Having addressed Suyodhana thus, the highly blessed
and wise Dhritarashtra again asked Sanjaya, saying, ‘Tell me, O Sanjaya,
what thou hast not yet said, viz., what Arjuna told thee after the
conclusion of Vasudeva’s speech, for great is my curiosity to hear it.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Having heard the words spoken by Vasudeva, the
irresistible Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, when the opportunity came,
said these words in the hearing of Vasudeva. “O Sanjaya, our grandsire,
the son of Santanu, and Dhritarashtra, and Drona, and Kripa, and Karna,
and king Vahlika, and Drona’s son, and Somadatta, and Sakuni the son of
Suvala; and Dussasana, and Sala, and Purumitra, and Vivinsati; Vikarna,
and Chitrasena, and king Jayatsena, and Vinda and Anuvinda, the two
chiefs of Avanti, and Bhurisravas, and king Bhagadatta, and king
Jarasandha and other rulers of the earth, assembled there to fight for
the good of the Kauravas, are all on the eve of death. They have been
assembled by Dhritarashtra’s son for being offered up as libations on the
blazing Pandava-fire. In my name, Sanjaya, enquire after the welfare of
those assembled kings according to their respective ranks, paying them
proper regard at the same time. Thou shouldest also, O Sanjaya, say this,
in the presence of all kings, unto Suyodhana--that foremost of all sinful
men. Wrathful and wicked, of sinful soul and exceedingly covetous, do
thou, O Sanjaya, see that that fool with his counsellors hears all that I
say.” And with this preface, Pritha’s son Dhananjaya, endued with great
wisdom, and possessed of large eyes with red corners, glancing at
Vasudeva, then spoke unto me these words pregnant with both virtue and
profit, “Thou hast already heard the measured words spoken by the
high-souled chief of the Madhu’s race. Say unto the assembled kings that
those are also my words. And say this also for me, unto those kings,--‘Do
ye together try to act in such a way that libations may not have to be
poured into the arrowy fire of the great sacrifice of battle, in which
the rattle of car-wheels will sound as mantras, and the rank-routing bow
will act as the ladle. If, indeed, ye do not give up unto Yudhishthira,
that slayer of foes, his own share in the kingdom asked back by him, I
shall then, by means of my arrows, send all of you, with cavalry,
infantry, and elephants, into the inauspicious regions of departed
spirits.’” Then bidding adieu unto Dhananjaya and Hari of four arms and
bowing unto them both, I have with great speed come hither to convey
those words of grave import to thee, O thou that art endued with
effulgence equal that of the very gods.’”


Vaisampayana said, “When Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, showed
little regard for the words spoken by Sanjaya, and when the rest remained
silent, the assembled kings rose up and retired. And after all the kings
of the earth had retired, king Dhritarashtra, who always followed the
counsels of his son from affection, wishing success to the assembled
kings, began to enquire in secret of Sanjaya about the resolve of his own
party, and of the Pandavas who were hostile to him. And Dhritarashtra
said, “Tell me truly, O son of Gavalgana, in what consists the strength
and weakness of our own host. Minutely acquainted as thou art with the
affairs of the Pandavas, tell me in what lies their superiority and in
what, their inferiority. Thou are fully conversant with the strength of
both parties. Thou knowest all things, and art well-versed in all matters
of virtue and profit. Asked by me, O Sanjaya, say which of the parties,
when engaged in battle, will perish?”’

“Sanjaya said, ‘I will not say anything to thee in secret, O king, for
then thou mayst entertain ill-feelings towards me. Bring thou hither, O
Ajamida, thy father Vyasa of high vows and thy queen Gandhari. Conversant
with morality, of keen perception, and capable of arriving at the truth,
they will remove any ill-feelings thou mayst cherish against me. In their
presence, O king, I will tell thee everything about the intensions of
Kesava and Partha.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, Dhritarashtra caused both
Gandhari and Vyasa to be brought there. And introduced by Vidura they
entered the court without delay. And understanding the intentions of both
Sanjaya and his son, Krishna-Dwaipayana endued with great wisdom said,
Say, O Sanjaya, unto the enquiring Dhritarashtra everything that he
desireth to know. Tell him truly all that thou knowest about Vasudeva and


“Sanjaya said, ‘Those adorable bowmen, Arjuna and Vasudeva, who are
perfectly equal unto each other in respect of their godlike nature, have
taken their births of their own will. O lord, the discus owned by
Vasudeva, of abundant energy, occupieth a space full five cubits in
diameter, is capable also of being hurled at the foe (in forms large or
small) according to the will of the wielder himself, and it dependeth on
illusion. Always conspicuous by its effulgence, it is invisible to the
Kurus; and in ascertaining the strength or weakness of the Pandavas, that
discus offers the best ground. Indeed, that scion of Madhu’s race, endued
with great might, vanquished with an effort and in seeming playfulness
the formidable Naraka and Samvara and Kansa and (Sisupala) the chief of
Chedis. Possessed of divinity and of soul superior to everything, that
most exalted of male beings can, by his will alone, bring the earth,
firmament, and heaven under his control. Thou askest me repeatedly, O
king, about the Pandavas for knowing their strength and weakness. Listen
now to all that in brief. If the whole universe be placed on one scale
and Janardana on the other, even then Janardana will outweigh the entire
universe. Janardana, at his pleasure, can reduce the universe to ashes,
but the entire universe is incapable of reducing Janardana to ashes.
Wherever there is truthfulness, wherever virtue, wherever modesty,
wherever simplicity, even there is Govinda. And thither where Krishna is,
success must be. That soul of all creatures, most exalted of male beings,
Janardana, guideth, as if in sport, the entire earth, the firmament, and
the heaven. Making the Pandavas the indirect means, and beguiling the
whole world, Janardana wisheth to blast thy wicked sons that are all
addicted to sin. Endued with divine attributes, Kesava, by the power of
his soul causeth the wheel of Time, the wheel of the Universe, and the
wheel of the Yuga, to revolve incessantly. And I tell thee truly that
glorious Being is alone the Lord of Time, of Death, and of this Universe
of mobile and immobile objects. That great ascetic Hari, though the Lord
of the whole Universe, still betaketh himself to work, like a humble
labourer that tilleth the fields. Indeed, Kesava beguileth all by the aid
of His illusion. Those men, however, that have attained to Him are not


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘How hast thou, O Sanjaya, been able to know Madhava
as the Supreme Lord of the universe? And how is it that I am unable to
know Him as such? Tell me this, O Sanjaya.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Listen, O king! Thou hast no Knowledge, whereas my
Knowledge hath suffered no diminution. He that is without Knowledge and
is shrouded with the darkness of ignorance, knoweth not Kesava. Aided by
my knowledge, O sire, I know the slayer of Madhu to be the union of the
Gross, the Subtle and the Cause; and that He is the Creator of all, but
is Himself increate; and also that, endued with Divinity, it is He from
whom everything springs and it is He unto whom all things return.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O son of Gavalgana, what is the nature of that
Faith which thou hast in Janardana and in consequence of which thou
knowest the slayer of Madhu to be the union of the Gross, the Subtle, and
the Cause?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Blessed be thou, O king, I have no regard for the
illusion (that is identified with worldly pleasures) and I never practise
the useless virtues (of vows and work without reliance on Him and purity
of Soul). Having obtained purity of Soul through Faith, I have known
Janardana from the scriptures.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O Duryodhana, seek thou the protection of
Janardana, otherwise called Hrishikesa. O child, Sanjaya is one of our
trustiest friends. Seek refuge with Kesava.’

“Duryodhana said, ‘If the divine son of Devaki united in friendship with
Arjuna, were to slay all mankind, I cannot, even then, resign myself to

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘This evil-minded son of thine, O Gandhari, is
resolved to sink in misery. Envious, wicked-souled, and vain, he setteth
aside the words of all his superiors.’

“Gandhari said, ‘Thou covetous wretch that disregardest the commands of
the aged, abandoning thy father and myself and giving up prosperity and
life, enhancing the joy of thy foes, and afflicting me with deep
distress, thou wilt, O fool, remember thy father’s words, when struck by
Bhimasena, thou wilt bite the dust.’

“Vyasa said, ‘Listen to me, O king! Thou, O Dhritarashtra, art the
beloved of Krishna. When Sanjaya hath been thy envoy, he will verily lead
thee to thy good. He knoweth Hrishikesa,--that ancient and exalted One.
If thou listenest to him with attention, he will certainly save thee from
the great danger that hangs upon thee. O son of Vichitravirya, subject to
wrath and joy, men are entangled in various snares. They that are not
contented with their own possessions, deprived of sense as they are by
avarice and desire, they repeatedly become subject to Death in
consequence of their own acts, like blind men (falling into pits) when
led by the blind. The path that is trod by the wise is the only one (that
leadeth to Brahma). They that are superior, keeping that path of view,
overcome death and reach the goal by it.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Tell me, O Sanjaya, of that path without terrors by
which, obtaining Hrishikesa, salvation may be mine.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘A man of uncontrolled mind can by no means know Janardana
whose soul is under perfect command. The performance of sacrifices
without controlling one’s senses is even no means to that end.
Renunciation of the objects of our excited senses is due to spiritual
light; both spiritual light and abstention from injury arise doubtless
from true wisdom. Therefore, O king, resolve to subdue thy senses with
all possible vigour; let not thy intellect deviate from true knowledge;
and restrain thy heart from worldly temptations that surround it. Learned
Brahmanas describe this subjugation of the senses to be true wisdom; and
this wisdom is the path by which learned men proceed to their goal. O
king, Kesava is not obtainable by men who have not subdued their senses.
He that hath subdued his senses, desireth spiritual knowledge, awakened
by the knowledge of scriptures and the pleasure of Yaga-absorption.’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I request thee, O Sanjaya, to tell me again of the
lotus-eyed Krishna; for, by being acquainted with the import of his
names, I may, O son, obtain that most exalted of male beings.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘The auspicious names (of Kesava) have been previously
heard by me. Of those I will tell thee as many as I know. Kesava,
however, is immeasurable, being above the power of speech to describe. He
is called Vasudeva in consequence of his enveloping all creatures with
the screen of illusion, or of his glorious splendour, or of his being the
support and resting-place of the gods. He is called Vishnu because of his
all-pervading nature. He is called Madava, O Bharata, because of his
practising as a Muni, concentration of mind on truth and Yoga-absorption.
He is called Madhusudana because of his having slain the Asura Madhu, and
also because of his being the substance of the twenty-four objects of
knowledge. Born of the Sattwata race, he is called Krishna because he
uniteth in himself what are implied by the two words Krishi which
signifieth “what existeth” and na which signifieth “eternal peace.” He is
called Pundarikaksha from Pundarika implying his high and eternal abode,
and Aksha implying “indestructible;” and he is called Janardana because
he striketh fear into the hearts of all wicked beings. He is called
Sattwata, because the attribute of Sattwa is never dissociated from him
and also because he is never dissociated from it; and he is called
Vrishabhakshana from Vrishabha implying the “Vedas” and ikshana implying
“eye,” the union of the two signifying that the Vedas are his eyes, or
the Vedas are the eyes through which he may be seen. That conqueror of
hosts is called Aja, or “unborn,” because he hath not taken his birth from
any being in the ordinary way. That Supreme Soul is called Damodara
because unlike the gods his effulgence is increate and his own, and also
because he hath self-control and great splendour. He is called
Hrishikesa, from Hrishika meaning “eternal happiness” and Isa meaning
“the six divine attributes,” the union signifying one having joy,
happiness, and divinity. He is called Mahavahu, because he upholdeth the
earth and the sky with his two arms. He is called Adhakshaja, because he
never falleth down or suffereth any deterioration, and is called Narayana
from his being the refuge of all human beings. He is called Purusottama
from Puru implying “he that createth and preserveth” and so meaning “he
that destroyeth, the union signifying one that createth, preserveth, and
destroyeth the universe”. He possesseth a knowledge of all things, and,
therefore, is called Sarva. Krishna is always in Truth and Truth is
always in him, and Govinda is Truth’s Truth. Therefore, he is called
Satya. He is called Vishnu because of his prowess, and Jishnu because of
his success. He is called Ananta from his eternity, and Govinda from his
knowledge of speech of every kind. He maketh the unreal appear as real
and thereby beguileth all creatures. Possessed of such attributes, ever
devoted to righteousness, and endued with divinity, the slayer of Madhu,
that mighty-armed one incapable of decay, will come hither for preventing
the slaughter of the Kurus.’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O Sanjaya, I envy those gifted with sight, who will
behold before them that Vasudeva whose body endued with great beauty
shineth with effulgence, illuminating the cardinal and subsidiary points
of the compass; who will give utterance to words that will be listened to
with respect by the Bharatas,--words that are auspicious to the
Srinjayas, acceptable, by those desirous of prosperity, faultless in
every respect, and unacceptable by those that are doomed to death; who is
full of high resolves, eternal, possessed of unrivalled heroism, who is
the bull of the Yadavas and their leader, and who is the slayer and
awe-inspirer of all foes, and who is the destroyer of the fame of every
enemy. The assembled Kauravas will behold that high-souled and adorable
One, that slayer of foes, that chief of the Vrishnis, uttering words full
of kindness, and fascinating all of my party. I put myself in the hand of
that Eternal one, that Rishi endued with knowledge of Self, that ocean of
eloquence, that Being who is easily attainable by ascetics, that bird
called Arishta furnished with beautiful wings, that destroyer of
creatures, that refuge of the universe; that one of a thousand heads,
that Creator and Destroyer of all things, that Ancient one, that one
without beginning, middle, or end, that one of infinite achievements,
that cause of the Prime seed, that unborn one, that Eternity’s self, that
highest of the high, that Creator of the three worlds, that Author of
gods, Asuras, Nagas, and Rakshasas, that foremost of all learned persons
and rulers of men, that younger brother of Indra.’”


(Bhagwat Yana Parva)

Janamejaya said, “When good Sanjaya (leaving the Pandava camp) went back
to the Kurus, what did my grandsires, the sons of Pandu, then do? O
foremost of Brahmanas, I desire to hear all this. Tell me this,

Vaisampayana said, “After Sanjaya had gone, Yudhishthira the just,
addressed Krishna of the Dasarha race--that chief of all the Sattwatas,
saying, ‘O thou that art devoted to friends, the time hath come for
friends to show their friendship. I do not see any other persons besides
thee that can save us in this season of distress. Relying on thee, O
Madhava, we have fearlessly asked back our share from Duryodhana who is
filled with immeasurable pride and from his counsellors. O chastiser of
foes, thou protectest the Vrishnis in all their calamities, do thou now
protect the Pandavas also from a great danger, for they deserve thy

“Divine Krishna said, ‘Here am I, O mighty-armed one. Tell me what thou
desirest to say, for I will, O Bharata, accomplish whatever thou wilt
tell me.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast heard what the intention is of
Dhritarashtra and his son. All that Sanjaya, O Krishna, said unto me hath
certainly the assent of Dhritarashtra. Sanjaya is Dhritarashtra’s soul,
and spoke out his mind. An envoy speaketh according to his instructions,
for if he speaketh otherwise he deserveth to be slain. Without looking
equally on all that are his, moved by avarice and a sinful heart,
Dhritarashtra seeketh to make peace with us without giving us back our
kingdom. Indeed, at Dhritarashtra’s command we spent twelve years in the
woods and one additional year in concealment, well-believing, O lord,
that Dhritarashtra would abide firmly by that pledge of ours. That we did
not deviate from our promise is well-known to the Brahmanas who were with
us. The covetous king Dhritarashtra, is now unwilling to observe
Kshatriya virtues. Owing to affection for his son, he is listening to the
counsels of wicked men. Abiding by counsels of Suyodhana, the king, O
Janardana, actuated by avarice and seeking his own good, behaveth
untruthfully towards us. What can be more sorrowful, O Janardana, than
this, that I am unable to maintain my mother and my friends? Having the
Kasis, the Panchalas, the Chedis, and the Matsyas, for my allies and with
thee, O slayer of Madhu, for my protector, I prayed for only five
villages, etc., Avishthala, Vrikasthala, Makandi, Varanavata, with any
other, O Govinda, as the fifth;--“Grant us,” we said, “five villages or
towns, O sire, where we five may dwell in union, for we do not desire the
destruction of the Bharatas.”--The wicked-minded son of Dhritarashtra,
however, regarding the lordship of the world to be in him, doth not
agree to even that. What can be more sorrowful than this? When a man born
and brought up in a respectable family, coveteth the possessions of
others, that avarice of his destroyeth his intelligence; and intelligence
being destroyed, shame is lost; and loss of shame leadeth to diminution
of virtue; and loss of virtue bringeth on loss of prosperity. Destruction
of prosperity, in its turn, ruineth a person, for poverty is a person’s
death. Kinsmen and friends and Brahmanas shun a poor man as birds avoid,
O Krishna, a tree that beareth neither flower nor fruits. Even this, O
sire, is death to me that kinsmen shun me, as if I were a fallen one like
the breath of life quitting a dead body. Samvara said that no condition
of life could be more distressful than that in which one is always racked
by the anxiety caused by the thought--“I have no meat for today, what will
become of me tomorrow?”--It is said that wealth is the highest virtue, and
everything depends on wealth. They that have wealth are said to live,
whereas those that are without wealth are more dead than alive. They that
by violence rob a man of his wealth not only kill the robbed but destroy
also his virtue, profit and pleasure. Some men when overtaken by poverty
choose death; others remove from cities to hamlets; others retire into the
wood; while others, again, become religious mendicants to destroy their
lives. Some for the sake of wealth are driven to madness; others for
wealth, live under subjection to their foes; while many others, again,
for the sake of wealth, betake themselves to the servitude of others. A
man’s poverty is even more distressful to him than death, for wealth is
the sole cause of virtue and pleasure. The natural death of a person is
not much regarded, for that is the eternal path of all creatures. Indeed,
none among created beings can transgress it. O Krishna, a man who is poor
from birth is not so much distressed as one, who, having once possessed
great prosperity and having been brought up in luxury, is deprived of
that prosperity. Having through his own fault fallen into distress, such
a person blameth the very gods with Indra and his own self. Indeed,
knowledge of even the entire scriptures faileth to mitigate his pains.
Sometimes he getteth angry with his servants, and sometimes he cherisheth
malice towards even his well-wishers. Subject to constant anger, he
loseth his very senses, and his senses being clouded, he practiseth evil
deeds. Through sinfulness such a person contributeth to a fusion of
castes. A fusion of castes leadeth to hell and is the foremost of all
sinful acts. If he is not awakened in time, he goeth, certainly, O
Krishna, to hell, and, indeed, wisdom is the only thing that can awaken
him, for if he obtaineth back the eye of wisdom, he is saved. When wisdom
is regained, such a man turneth his attention to scriptures; and
attention to scriptures aideth his virtue. Then shame becometh his best
ornament. He that hath shame hath an aversion against sin, and his
prosperity also increaseth; and he that hath prosperity truly becometh a
man. He that is ever devoted to virtue, and hath his mind under control,
and always acteth after deliberation, never inclineth towards
unrighteousness and never engageth in any act that is sinful. He that is
without shame and sense is neither man nor woman. He is incapable of
earning religious merit, and is like a Sudra. He that hath shame
gratifieth the gods, the Pitris, and even his own self, and by this he
obtaineth emancipation, which indeed, is the highest aim of all righteous

“‘Thou hast, O slayer of Madhu, seen all this in me with thy own eyes. It
is not unknown to thee, how, deprived of kingdom, we have lived these
years. We cannot lawfully abandon that prosperity (which had been ours).
Our first efforts will be such that, O Madhava, both ourselves and the
Kauravas, united in peace, will quietly enjoy our prosperity. Otherwise,
we shall, after slaying the worst of the Kauravas, regain those
provinces, although success through bloodshed by destruction of even
despicable foes that are related to us so dearly is the worst of all
fierce deeds, O Krishna. We have numerous kinsmen, and numerous also are
the revered seniors that have taken this or that other side. The
slaughter of these would be highly sinful. What good, therefore, can
there be in battle? Alas, such sinful practices are the duties of the
Kshatriya order! Ourselves have taken our births in that wretched order!
Whether those practices be sinful or virtuous, any other than the
profession of arms would be censurable for us. A Sudra serveth; a Vaisya
liveth by trade; the Brahmana have chosen the wooden bowl (for begging),
while we are to live by slaughter! A Kshatriya slayeth a Kshatriya;
fishes live on fish; a dog preyeth upon a dog! Behold, O thou of the
Dasarha race, how each of these followeth his peculiar virtue. O Krishna,
Kali is ever present in battle-fields; lives are lost all around. It is
true, force regulated by policy is invoked; yet success and defeat are
independent of the will of the combatants. The lives also of creatures
are independent of their own wishes, and neither weal nor woe can be
one’s when the time is not come for it, O best of the Yadu’s race.
Sometimes one man killeth many, sometimes many united together kill
one. A coward may slay a hero, and one unknown to fame may slay a hero of
celebrity. Both parties cannot win success, nor both be defeated. The
loss, however, on both sides may be equal. If one flieth away, loss of
both life and fame is his. Under all circumstances, however, war is a
sin. Who in striking another is not himself struck? As regard the person,
however, who is struck, victory and defeat, O Hrishikesa, are the same.
It is true that defeat is not much removed from death, but his loss also,
O Krishna, is not less who winneth victory. He himself may not be killed,
but his adversaries will kill at least some one that is dear to him, or
some others and thus the man, O sire, deprived of strength and not seeing
before him his sons and brothers, becometh indifferent, O Krishna, to
life itself. Those that are quiet, modest, virtuous, and compassionate,
are generally slain in battle, while they that are wicked escape. Even
after slaying one’s foes, repentance, O Janardana, possesseth the heart.
He that surviveth among the foes giveth trouble, for the survivor,
collecting a force, seeketh to destroy the surviving victor. In hopes of
terminating the dispute, one often seeketh to exterminate the foe. Thus
victory createth animosity, and he that is defeated liveth in sorrow. He
that is peaceful, sleepeth in happiness, giving up all thoughts of
victory and defeat, whereas he that hath provoked hostility always
sleepeth in misery, with, indeed, an anxious heart, as if sleeping with a
snake in the same room. He that exterminates seldom winneth fame. On the
other hand, such a person reapeth eternal infamy in the estimation of
all. Hostilities, waged over so long, cease not; for if there is even one
alive in the enemy’s family, narrators are never wanted to remind him of
the past. Enmity, O Kesava, is never neutralised by enmity; on the other
hand, it is fomented by enmity, like fire fed by clarified butter.
Therefore, there can be no peace without the annihilation of one party,
for flaws may always be detected of which advantage may be taken by one
side or other. They that are engaged in watching for flaws have this
vice. Confidence in one’s own prowess troubleth the core of one’s heart
like an incurable disease. Without either renouncing that at once, or
death, there can be no peace. It is true, O slayer of Madhu, that
exterminating the foe by the very roots, may lead to good result in the
shape of great prosperity, yet such an act is most cruel. The peace that
may be brought about by our renouncing the kingdom is hardly different
from death, which is implied by the loss of kingdom, in consequence of
the design of the enemy and the utter ruin of ourselves. We do not wish
to give up the kingdom, nor do we wish to see the extinction of our race.
Under these circumstances, therefore, the peace that is obtained through
even humiliation is the best. When these that strive for peace by all
means without of course wishing for war, find conciliation fail, war
becomes inevitable, and then is the time for the display of prowess.
Indeed, when conciliation fails, frightful results follow. The learned
have noticed all this in a canine contest. First, there comes the wagging
of tails, then the bark, then the bark in reply, then the
circumambulation, then the showing of teeth, then repeated roars, and
then at last the fight. In such a contest, O Krishna, the dog that is
stronger, vanquishing his antagonist, taketh the latter’s meat. The same
is exactly the case with men. There is no difference whatever. They that
are powerful should be indifferent to avoid disputes with the weak who
always bow down. The father, the king, and he that is venerable in years,
always deserve regard. Dhritarashtra, therefore, O Janardana, is worthy
of our respect and worship. But, O Madhava, Dhritarashtra’s affection for
his son is great. Obedient to his son, he will reject our submission.
What dost thou, O Krishna, think best at this juncture? How may we, O
Madhava, preserve both our interest and virtue? Whom also, besides thee,
O slayer of Madhu, and foremost of men, shall we consult in this
difficult affair? What other friend have we, O Krishna, who like thee is
so dear to us, who seeketh our welfare so, who is so conversant with the
course of all actions, and who is so well-acquainted with truth?’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed, Janardana replied unto
Yudhishthira the just, saying, ‘I will go to the court of the Kurus for
the sake of both of you. If without sacrificing your interests I can
obtain peace, O king, an act of great religious merit will be mine,
productive of great fruits. I shall then also save from the meshes of
death the Kurus and the Srinjayas inflamed with wrath, the Pandavas and
the Dhritarashtras, and, in fact, this entire earth.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘It is not my wish, O Krishna, that thou wilt go to
the Kurus, for Suyodhana will never act according to thy words, even if
thou advisest him well. All the Kshatriyas of the world, obedient to
Duryodhana’s command, are assembled there. I do not like that thou, O
Krishna, shouldst proceed into their midst. If any mischief be done to
thee, O Madhava, let alone happiness; nothing, not even divinity, nor
even the sovereignty over all the gods will delight us.’

“The holy one said, ‘I know, O monarch, the sinfulness of Dhritarashtra’s
son, but by going there we will escape the blame of all the kings of the
earth. Like other animals before the lion, all the kings of the earth
united together are not competent to stand still before me in battle when
I am enraged. If, after all, they do me any injury, then I will consume
all the Kurus. Even this is my intention. My going thither, O Partha,
will not be fruitless, for if our object be not fulfilled, we shall at
least escape all blame.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Do, O Krishna, as it pleaseth thee. Blessed be thou,
go then to the Kurus. I hope to behold thee return successful and
prosperous. Going unto the Kurus, make thou, O Lord, such a peace that
all the sons of Bharata may live together with cheerful hearts and
contentedly. Thou art our brother and friend, dear to me as much as to
Vibhatsu. Such hath been our intimacy with thee that we apprehend no
neglect of our interest from thee. Go thou there for our good. Thou
knowest us, thou knowest our antagonists, thou knowest what our purposes
are, and thou knowest also what to say. Thou wilt, O Krishna, say unto
Suyodhana such words as are for our benefit. Whether peace is to be
established by (apparent) sin or by any other means, O Kesava, speak such
words as may prove beneficial to us.’”


“The holy one said, ‘I have heard Sanjaya’s words and now I have heard
thine. I know all about his purposes as also of thyself. Thy heart
inclineth to righteousness, whereas their inclination is towards enmity.
That which is obtained without war is of great value to thee. A long-life
Brahmacharya is not, O lord of earth, the duty of a Kshatriya. Indeed,
men of all the four orders have said that a Kshatriya should never
subsist on alms; victory or death in battle, hath been eternally ordained
by the Creator; even that is the duty of a Kshatriya. Cowardice is not
applauded (in a Kshatriya). Subsistence, O Yudhishthira, is not possible
by Cowardice, O thou of mighty arms. Display thy prowess, and vanquish, O
chastiser of foes, thy enemies. The covetous son of Dhritarashtra, O
chastiser of foes, living for a long time (with many kings) has by
affection and friendship become very powerful. Therefore, O king, there
is no hope of making his peace with thee. They regard themselves strong,
having Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and others with them. As long, O king,
as thou, O grinder of foes, wilt behave with them mildly, they will
withhold thy kingdom. Neither from compassion, nor from mildness, nor
from a sense of righteousness, will the sons of Dhritarashtra, O
chastiser of foes, fulfil thy wishes. This, O son of Pandu, is another
proof that they will not make peace with thee. Having pained thee so
deeply by making thee put on a Kaupina, they were not stung with remorse.
In the very sight of the Grandsire (Bhishma) and Drona and the wise
Vidura, of many holy Brahmanas, the king, the citizens, and all the chief
Kauravas, the cruel Duryodhana, deceitfully defeating thee at dice,--thee
that are charitable, gentle, self-restrained, virtuous, and of rigid vows
was not, O king, ashamed of his vile act. Do not, O monarch, show any
compassion for that wretch of such disposition. They deserve death at the
hands of all, how much more then of thee, O Bharata? O Bharata, with what
improper speeches did Duryodhana with his brothers, filled with gladness
and indulging in many a boast, afflict thee with thy brothers! He said,
The Pandavas now have nothing of their own in this wide earth. Their
very names and lineage are extinct. In time, which is never-ending,
defeat will be theirs. All their virtues having merged in me, they will
now be reduced to the five elements. While the match at dice was in
progress, the wretched Dussasana of most wicked soul, seizing that
weeping lady by the hair dragged princess Draupadi, as if she had no
protectors, to the assembly of kings, and in the presence of Bhishma and
Drona and others, repeatedly called her--“cow, cow!” Restrained by thee,
thy brothers of terrible prowess, bound also by the bonds of virtue, did
nothing to avenge it; and after thou hadst been exiled to the woods,
Duryodhana having uttered such and other cruel words, boasted amid his
kinsmen. Knowing thee innocent, they that were assembled sat silent in
the assembly-house, weeping with choked voice. The assembled kings with
the Brahmanas did not applaud him for this. Indeed, all the courtiers
present there censured him. To a man of noble descent, O grinder of foes,
even censure is death. Death is even many times better than a life of
blame. Even then, O king, he died when, upon being censured by all the
kings of the earth, he felt no shame! He whose character is so abominable
may easily be destroyed even like a rootless tree standing erect on a
single weak root. The sinful and evil-minded Duryodhana deserveth death
at the hands of every one, even like a serpent. Slay him, therefore, O
killer of foes, and hesitate not in the least. It behoveth thee, O
sinless one, and I like it too, that thou shouldst pay homage unto thy
father Dhritarashtra and also unto Bhishma. Going thither I will remove
the doubts of all men who are still undecided as to the wickedness of
Duryodhana. Thither in the presence of all kings I will enumerate all
those virtues of thine that are not to be met in all men, as also all the
vices of Duryodhana. And hearing me speak beneficial words, pregnant with
virtue and profit, the rulers of various realms will regard thee as
possessed of a virtuous soul, and as a speaker of truth, while at the
same time, they will understand how Duryodhana is actuated by avarice. I
will also tell the vice of Duryodhana, before both the citizens and the
inhabitants of the country, before both the young and the old, of all the
four orders that will be collected there. And as thou askest for peace no
one will charge thee sinful, while all the chiefs of the earth will
censure the Kurus and Dhritarashtra; and when Duryodhana will be dead in
consequence of his being forsaken by all men, there will be nothing left
to do. Do then what should now be done. Going unto the Kurus, I shall
strive to make peace without sacrificing thy interests, and marking their
inclination for war and all their proceedings, I will soon come back, O
Bharata, for thy victory. I think war with the enemy to be certain. All
the omens that are noticeable by me point to that. Birds and animals set
up frightful screeches and howls at the approach of dusk. The foremost of
elephants and steeds assume horrible shapes; the very fire exhibiteth
diverse kinds of terrible hues! This would never have been the case but
for the fact of the world-destroying Havoc’s self coming into our midst!
Making ready their weapons, machines, coats of mail, and cars, elephants,
and steeds, let all thy warriors be prepared for battle, and let them
take care of their elephants and horses and cars. And, O king, collect
everything that thou needest for the impending war. As long as he liveth,
Duryodhana will, by no means, be able to give back unto thee, O king,
that kingdom of thine which, abounding in prosperity, have before been
taken by him at dice!’”


“Bhima said, ‘Speak thou, O slayer of Madhu, in such a strain that there
may be peace with the Kurus. Do not threaten them with war. Resenting
everything, his wrath always excited, hostile to his own good and
arrogant, Duryodhana should not be roughly addressed. Do thou behave
towards him with mildness. Duryodhana is by nature sinful of heart like
that of a robber, intoxicated with the pride of prosperity, hostile to
the Pandavas, without foresight, cruel in speech, always disposed to
censure others, of wicked prowess, of wrath not easily to be appeased,
not susceptible of being taught, of wicked soul, deceitful in behaviour,
capable of giving up his very life rather than break or give up his own
opinion. Peace with such a one, O Krishna, is, I suppose, most difficult.
Regardless of the words of even his well-wishers, destitute of virtue,
loving falsehood, he always acts against the words of his counsellors and
wounds their hearts. Like a serpent hid within reeds, he naturally
commits sinful acts, depending on his own wicked disposition, and
obedient to the impulse of wrath. What army Duryodhana hath, what his
conduct is, what his nature, what his might, and what his prowess, are
all well-known to thee. Before this, the Kauravas with their son passed
their days in cheerfulness, and we also with our friends rejoiced like
the younger brother of Indra, with Indra himself. Alas, by Duryodhana’s
wrath, O slayer of Madhu, the Bharatas will all be consumed, even like
forests by fire at the end of the dewy seasons, and, O slayer of Madhu,
well-known are those eighteen kings that annihilated their kinsmen,
friends, and relatives. Even as, when Dharma became extinct, Kali was
born in the race of Asuras flourishing with prosperity and blazing with
energy, so was born Udavarta among the Haihayas, Janamejaya among the
Nepas, Vahula among the Talajanghas, proud Vasu among the Krimis,
Ajavindu among the Suviras, Rushardhik among the Surashtras, Arkaja among
the Valihas, Dhautamulaka among the Chinas, Hayagriva among the Videhas,
Varayu among the Mahaujasas, Vahu among the Sundaras, Pururavas among the
Diptakshas, Sahaja among the Chedis and Matsyas, Vrishaddhaja among the
Praviras, Dharana among the Chandra-batsyas, Bigahana among the Mukutas
and Sama among the Nandivegas. These vile individuals, O Krishna, spring
up, at the end of each Yuga, in their respective races, for the
destruction of their kinsmen. So hath Duryodhana, the very embodiment of
sin and the disgrace of his race, been born, at the end of the Yuga,
amongst us the Kurus. Therefore, O thou of fierce prowess, thou shouldst
address him slowly and mildly, not in bitter but sweet words fraught with
virtue and profit, and discourse fully on the subject so as to attract
his heart. All of us, O Krishna, would rather in humiliation follow
Duryodhana submissively, but, oh, let not the Bharatas be annihilated. O
Vasudeva, act in such a way that we may rather live as strangers to the
Kurus than incurring the sin of bringing about the destruction of the
whole race should touch them, O Krishna, let the aged Grandsire and the
other counsellors of the Kurus be asked to bring about brotherly feelings
between brothers and to pacify the son of Dhritarashtra. Even this is
what I say. King Yudhishthira also approveth of this, and Arjuna too is
averse to war, for there is great compassion in him.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Hearing these words from Bhima, that were fraught
with such mildness and that were, as unexpected as if the hills had lost
their weight and fire had become cold, Rama’s younger brother Kesava of
Sura’s race and mighty arms, wielding the bow called Saranga, laughed
aloud, and as if to stimulate Bhima by his words, like the breeze fanning
a fire, addressed him who was then so overwhelmed by the impulse of
kindness, saying, ‘At other times, O Bhimasena, thou applaudest war only,
desirous of crushing the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra that take delight
in the destruction of others. O chastiser of foes, thou dost not sleep
but wakest the whole night, sitting up face downwards. Thou often
utterest frightful exclamation of wrath, indicative of the storm within
thy heart. Inflamed with the fire of thy own fury, thou sighest, O Bhima
with an unquiet heart, like a flame of fire mixed with smoke. Withdrawing
from company thou liest down breathing hot sighs, like a weak man pressed
down by a heavy load. They, who do not know the cause regard thee as
insane. As an elephant breaking into fragments uprooted trees lying on
the ground grunteth in rage while trampling them under his feet, so thou
also, O Bhima, runnest on, breathing deep sighs and shaking the earth
under thy tread. Here in the region thou takest no delight in company but
passest thy time in privacy. Night or day, nothing pleases thee so much
as seclusion. Sitting apart thou sometimes laughest aloud all on a
sudden, and sometimes placing thy head between thy two knees, thou
continuest in that posture for a long time with closed eyes. At the other
times, O Bhima, contracting thy brows frequently and biting thy lips,
thou starest fiercely before thee. All this is indicative of wrath. At
one time, thou hadst, in the midst of thy brothers, grasped the mace,
uttering this oath, “As the sun is seen rising in the east displaying his
radiance, and as he truly setteth in the west journeying around the Meru,
so do I swear that I will certainly slay insolent Duryodhana with this
mace of mine, and this oath of mine will never be untrue.” How then doth
that same heart of thine, O chastiser of foes, now follow the counsels of
peace? Alas, when fear entereth thy heart, O Bhima, it is certain that
the hearts of all who desire war are upset when war becometh actually
imminent. Asleep or awake, thou beholdest, O son of Pritha, inauspicious
omens. Perhaps, it is this for which thou desirest peace. Alas, like a
eunuch, thou dost not display any sign indicative of manliness in thee.
Thou art overwhelmed by panic, and it is for this that thy heart is
upset. Thy heart trembleth, thy mind is overwhelmed by despair, thy
thighs tremble, and it is for this that thou desirest peace. The hearts
of mortals, O Partha, are surely as inconstant as the pods of the Salmali
seed exposed to the force of the wind. This frame of thy mind is as
strange as articulate speech in kine. Indeed, the hearts of thy brothers
are about to sink in an ocean of despair,--like swimmers in the sea
without a raft to rescue them. That thou, O Bhimasena, shouldst utter
words so unexpected of thee is as strange as the shifting of a hill.
Recollecting thy own deeds and the race also in which thou art born,
arise, O Bharata, yield not, to grief, O hero, and be firm. Such langour,
O repressor of foes, is not worthy of thee, for a Kshatriya never
enjoyeth that which he doth not acquire through prowess.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Thus addressed by Vasudeva, the ever-wrathful Bhima,
incapable of bearing insults, was immediately awakened like a steed of
high metal, and replied, without losing a moment, saying, ‘O Achyuta, I
wish to act in a particular way; thou, however, takest me in quite a
different light. That I take great delight in war and that my prowess is
incapable of being baffled, must, O Krishna, be well-known to thee in
consequence of our having lived together for a long time. Or it may be,
thou knowest me not, like one swimming in a lake ignorant of its depth.
It is for this that thou chidest me in such unbecoming words. Who else, O
Madhava, knowing me to be Bhimasena, could address me with such
unbecoming words as thou dost? Therefore, I shall tell thee, O delighter
of the Vrishnis, about my own prowess and unrivalled might. Although to
speak of one’s own prowess is always an ignoble act, yet, pierced as I am
by thy unfriendly strictures, I will speak of my own might. Behold, O
Krishna, these--the firmament and the earth--which are immovable,
immense, and infinite, and which are the refuge of, and in which are born
these countless creatures. If through anger these suddenly collide like
two hills, just I, with my arms, can keep them asunder with all their
mobile and immobile objects. Behold the joints of these my mace-like
arms. I find not the person who can extricate himself having once come
within their grasp. The Himavat, the ocean, the mighty wielder of the
thunderbolt himself, viz., the slayer of Vala,--even these three cannot,
with all their power extricate the person attacked by me. I will easily
trample on the ground under my feet all the Kshatriyas, who will come to
battle against the Pandavas. It is not known to thee, O Achyuta, with
what prowess I vanquished the kings of the earth and brought them under
subjection. If, indeed, thou really knowest not my prowess which is like
the fierce energy of the midday sun thou wilt then know it, O Janardana,
in the fierce melee of battle. Thou woundest me with thy cruel words,
paining me with the pain of opening a foetid tumour. But know me to be
mightier than what I have said of myself of my own accord. On that day,
when the fierce and destructive havoc of battle will begin, thou will
then see me felling elephants and car-warriors combatants on steeds and
those on elephants, and slaying in rage the foremost of Kshatriya
warriors. Thou, as well as others, wilt see me doing all this and
grinding down the foremost of combatants. The marrow of my bones hath not
yet decayed, nor doth my heart tremble. If the whole world rusheth
against me in wrath, I do not yet feel the influence of fear. It is only
for the sake of compassion, O slayer of Madhu, that I am for displaying
goodwill to the foe. I am far quietly bearing all our injuries, lest the
Bharata race be extirpated.’”


“The holy one said, ‘It was only through affection that I said all this,
desiring to know thy mind, and not from the desire of reproaching thee,
nor from pride of learning, nor from wrath, nor from desire of making a
speech. I know thy magnanimity of soul, and also thy strength, and thy
deeds. It is not for that reason that I reproached thee. O son of Pandu,
a thousand times greater will be the benefit conferred by thee on the
Pandava’s cause than that which thou thinkest thyself to be capable of
conferring on it. Thou, O Bhima, with thy kinsmen and friends, art
exactly that which one should be that has taken his birth in a family
like thine, that is regarded by all the kings of the earth. The fact,
however, is that they can never arrive at the truth, who under the
influence of doubt proceed to enquire about the consequences hereafter of
virtue and vice, or about the strength and weakness of men. For it is
seen that what is the cause of the success of a person’s object becometh
also the cause of his ruin. Human acts, therefore, are doubtful in their
consequences. Learned men, capable of judging of the evils of actions
pronounce a particular course of action as worthy of being followed. It
produces, however, consequences, the very opposite of what were foreseen,
very much like the course of the wind. Indeed, even those acts of men
that are the results of deliberation and well-directed policy, and that
are consistent with considerations of propriety, are baffled by the
dispensations of Providence. Then, again, Providential dispensations,
such as heat and cold and rain and hunger and thirst, that are not the
consequences of human acts, may be baffled by human exertion. Then again,
besides those acts which a person is pre-ordained (as the result of the
act of past lives) to go through, one can always get rid of all other
acts begun at his pleasure, as is testified by both the Smritis and the
Srutis. Therefore, O son of Pandu, one cannot go on the world without
acting. One should, hence, engage in work knowing that one’s purpose
would be achieved by a combination of both Destiny and Exertion. He that
engageth in acts under this belief is never pained by failure, nor
delighted by success. This, O Bhimasena, was the intended import of my
speech. It was not intended by me that victory would be certain in an
encounter with the foe. A person, when his mind is upset should not lose
his cheerfulness and must yield neither to langour nor depression. It is
for this that I spoke to thee in the way I did. When the morrow comes, I
will go, O Pandava, to Dhritarashtra’s presence. I will strive to make
peace without sacrificing your interests. If the Kauravas make peace,
then boundless fame will be mine. Your purposes will be achieved, and
they also will reap great benefit. If, however, the Kauravas, without
listening to my words, resolve to maintain their opinion, then there will
undoubtedly be a formidable war. In this war burthen resteth on thee, O
Bhimasena. That burthen should also be borne by Arjuna, while other
warriors should all be led by both of you. In case of war happening, I
will certainly be the driver of Vibhatsu’s car, for that, indeed, is
Dhananjaya’s wish and not that I myself am not desirous of fighting. It
is for this that, hearing thee utter thy intention, I rekindled that thy
energy, O Vrikodara.’”


“Arjuna said, ‘O Janardana, Yudhishthira hath already said what should be
said. But, O chastiser of foes, hearing what thou hast said, it seemeth
to me that thou, O lord, does not think peace to be easily obtainable
either in consequence of Dhritarashtra’s covetousness or from our present
weakness. Thou thinkest also that human prowess alone is fruitless, and
also that without putting forth one’s prowess one’s purposes cannot be
achieved. What thou hast said may be true, but at the same time it may
not always be true. Nothing, however, should be regarded as
impracticable. It is true, peace seemeth to thee to be impossible in
consequence of our distressful condition, yet they are still acting
against us without reaping the fruits of their acts. Peace, therefore, if
properly proposed, O lord, may be concluded. O Krishna, strive thou,
therefore, to bring about peace with the foe. Thou, O hero, art the
foremost of all friends of both the Pandavas and the Kurus, even as
Prajapati is of both the gods and the Asuras. Accomplish thou, therefore,
that which is for the good of both the Kurus and the Pandavas. The
accomplishment of our good is not, I believe, difficult for thee. If thou
strivest, O Janardana, such is this act that it will be soon effected. As
soon as thou goest thither, it will be accomplished. If, O hero, thou
purposest to treat the evil-minded Duryodhana in any other way, that
purpose of thine will be carried out exactly as thou wishest. Whether it
be peace or war with the foe that thou wishest, any wish, O Krishna, that
thou mayest entertain, will certainly be honoured by us. Doth not the
evil-minded Duryodhana with his sons and kinsmen deserve destruction
when, unable to bear the sight of Yudhishthira’s prosperity and finding
no other faultless expedient, that wretch, O slayer of Madhu, deprived us
of our kingdom by the sinful expedient of deceitful dice? What bowman is
there, who, born in the Kshatriya order, and invited to combat, turneth
away from the fight even if he is sure to die? Beholding ourselves
vanquished by sinful means and banished to the woods, even then, thou of
the Vrishni race, I thought that Suyodhana deserved death at my hands.
What thou, however, O Krishna, wishest to do for thy friends is scarcely
strange, although it seems inexplicable how the object in view is capable
of being effected by either mildness or its reverse. Or, if thou deemest
their immediate destruction to be preferable, let it be effected soon
without further deliberation. Surely, thou knowest how Draupadi was
insulted in the midst of the assembly by Duryodhana of sinful soul and
how also we bore it with patience. That Duryodhana, O Madhava, will
behave with justice towards the Pandavas is what I cannot believe. Wise
counsels will be lost on him like seed sown in a barren soil. Therefore,
do without delay what thou, O thou of Vrishni race, thinkest to be proper
and beneficial for the Pandavas, or what, indeed, should next be done.’”


“The holy one said, ‘It shall be, O thou of mighty arms, what thou, O
Pandavas, sayest, I will strive to bring about that which would be
beneficial to both the Pandavas and the Kurus. Between the two kinds of
acts, war and peace, the latter, O Vibhatsu, is perhaps within my power.
Behold, the soil is moistened and divested of weeds by human exertion.
Without rain, however, O son of Kunti, it never yieldeth crops. Indeed,
in the absence of rain some speak of artificial irrigation, as a means of
success due to human exertion, but even then it may be seen that the
water artificially let in is dried up in consequence of providential
drought. Beholding all this, the wise men of old have said that human
affairs are set agoing in consequence of the cooperation of both
providential and human expedients. I will do all that can be done by
human exertion at its best. But I shall, by no means, be able to control
what is providential. The wicked-souled Duryodhana acteth, defying both
virtue and the world. Nor doth he feel any regret in consequence of his
acting in that way. Moreover, his sinful inclinations are fed by his
counsellors Sakuni and Karna and his brother Dussasana. Suyodhana will
never make peace by giving up the kingdom, without, O Partha, undergoing
at our hands a wholesale destruction with his kinsmen. King Yudhishthira
the just doth not wish to give up the kingdom submissively. The
wicked-minded Duryodhana also will not at our solicitation surrender the
kingdom. I, therefore, think that it is scarcely proper to deliver
Yudhishthira’s message to him. The sinful Duryodhana of Kuru’s race will
not, O Bharata, accomplish the objects spoken of by Yudhishthira. If he
refuses compliance, he will deserve death at the hands of all. Indeed, he
deserves death at my hands, as also, O Bharata, of every one since in
your childhood he always persecuted you all, and since that wicked and
sinful wretch robbed you of your kingdom and could not bear the sight of
Yudhishthira’s prosperity. Many a time, O Partha, he strove to withdraw
me from thee, but I never reckoned those wicked attempts of his. Thou
knowest, O thou of mighty arms, what the cherished intentions of
Duryodhana are, and thou knowest also that I seek the welfare of king
Yudhishthira the just. Knowing, therefore, Duryodhana’s heart and what my
most cherished wishes are, why then dost thou, O Arjuna, entertain such
apprehensions in respect of myself like one unacquainted with everything?
That grave act also which was ordained in heaven is known to thee. How
then, O Partha, can peace be concluded with the foe? What, however, O
Pandavas, is capable of being done by either speech or act, will all be
done by me. Do not, however, O Partha, expect peace to be possible with
the foe. About a year ago, on the occasion of attacking Virata’s kine,
did not Bhishma, on their way back, solicit Duryodhana about this very
peace so beneficial to all? Believe me, they have been defeated even then
when their defeat was resolved by thee. Indeed, Suyodhana doth not
consent to part with the smallest portion of the kingdom for even the
shortest period of time. As regards myself, I am ever obedient to the
commands of Yudhishthira, and, therefore, the sinful acts of that wicked
wretch must have again to be revolved in my mind!’”


“Nakula said, ‘Much hath been said, O Madhava, by king Yudhishthira the
just who is conversant with morality and endued with liberality, and thou
hast heard what hath been said by Falguni also. As regards my own
opinion, O hero, thou hast repeatedly expressed it. Hearing first what
the wishes of the enemy are and disregarding all, do what thou regardest
to be proper for the occasion. O Kesava, diverse are the conclusions
arrived at as regards diverse matters. Success, however, O chastiser of
foes, is won when a man doth that which ought to be done in view of the
occasion. When a thing is settled in one way on one occasion, it becometh
unsuitable when the occasion becometh different. Persons, therefore, in
this world, O foremost of men, cannot stick to the same opinion
throughout. While we were living in the woods, our hearts were inclined
towards a particular course of action. While we were passing the period
of concealment, our wishes were of one kind, and now, at the present
time, O Krishna, when concealment is no longer necessary, our wishes have
become different. O thou of the Vrishni race, while we wandered in the
woods, attachment for the kingdom was not so great as now. The period of
our exile having ceased, hearing, O hero, that we have returned, an army
numbering full seven Akshauhinis hath, through thy grace, O Janardana,
been assembled. Beholding these tigers among men, of inconceivable might
and prowess, standing equipped for battle armed with weapons, what man is
there that will not be struck with fear? Therefore going into the midst
of the Kurus, speak thou first words fraught with mildness and then those
fraught with threats, so that the wicked Suyodhana may be agitated with
fear. What mortal man is there, of flesh and blood, who would encounter
in battle Yudhishthira and Bhimasena, the invincible Vibhatsu and
Sahadeva, myself, thyself and Rama, O Kesava, and Satyaki of mighty
energy, Virata with his sons, Drupada with his allies, and
Dhrishtadyumna, O Madhava, and the ruler of Kasi of great prowess and
Dhrishtaketu the lord of the Chedis? No sooner wilt thou go there than
thou wilt, without doubt, accomplish, O thou of mighty arms, the desired
object of king Yudhishthira the just. Vidura, and Bhishma and Drona and
Vahlika, these talents, O sinless one, will understand thee when thou
wouldst utter words of wisdom. They will solicit that ruler of men,
Dhritarashtra and Suyodhana of sinful disposition, with his counsellors,
to act according to the advice. When thou, O Janardana, art the speaker
and Vidura the listener, what subject is there that cannot be rendered
smooth and plain?’”


“Sahadeva said, ‘What hath been said by the king is, indeed, eternal
virtue, but thou, O chastiser of foes, shouldst act, in such a way that
war may certainly happen. Even if the Kauravas express their desire for
peace with the Pandavas, still, O thou of Dasarha’s race, provoke thou a
war with them. Having seen, O Krishna, the princess of Panchala brought
in that plight into the midst of the assembly, how can my wrath be
appeased without the slaughter of Suyodhana. If, O Krishna, Bhima and
Arjuna and king Yudhishthira the just are disposed to be virtuous,
abandoning virtue I desire an encounter with Duryodhana in battle.’

“Satyaki said, ‘The high-souled Sahadeva, O thou of mighty arms, hath
spoken the truth. The rage I feel towards Duryodhana can be appeased only
by his death. Dost thou not remember the rage thou too hadst felt upon
beholding in the woods the distressed Pandavas clad in rags and
deer-skins? Therefore, O foremost of men, all the warriors assembled here
unanimously subscribe to what the heroic son of Madri, fierce in battle,
hath said!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “At these words of the high-souled Yuyudhana, a
leonine roar was set up by all the warriors assembled there. And all the
heroes, highly applauding those words of Satyaki, praised him, saying,
‘Excellent! Excellent!’ And anxious to fight, they all began to express
their joy.”


Vaisampayana said, “Hearing the peaceful words of the king that were
fraught with both virtue and profit, king Drupada’s daughter Krishna, of
long black tresses, afflicted with great grief, applauding Sahadeva and
that mighty car-warrior Satyaki, addressed Madhava seated by his side.
And beholding Bhimasena declare for peace, that intelligent lady,
overwhelmed with woe and with eyes bathed in tears, said, ‘O slayer of
Madhu, it is known to thee, O thou of mighty arms, by what deceitful
means, O righteous one, the son of Dhritarashtra with his counsellors
robbed the Pandavas, O Janardana, of their happiness. Thou knowest also,
O thou of Dasarha’s race, what message was privately delivered to Sanjaya
by the king. Thou hast also heard all that was said unto Sanjaya. O thou
of great effulgence, these words were even these, “Let only five villages
be granted to us, viz., Avishthala, and Vrikasthala, and Makandi, and
Varanavata, and for the fifth, any other,”--O thou of mighty arms, O
Kesava, even this was the message that was to have been delivered to
Duryodhana and his counsellors. But, O Krishna, O thou of Dasarha’s race,
hearing those words of Yudhishthira, endued with modesty and anxious for
peace, Suyodhana hath not acted according to them. If, O Krishna,
Suyodhana desireth to make peace without surrendering the kingdom, there
is no necessity of going thither for making such a peace. The Pandavas
with the Srinjayas, O thou of mighty arms, are quite able to withstand
the fierce Dhritarashtra host inflamed with rage. When they are no longer
amenable to the arts of conciliation, it is not proper, O slayer of
Madhu, that thou shouldst show them mercy. Those enemies, O Krishna, with
whom peace cannot be established by either conciliation or presents,
should be treated with severity by one desirous of saving his life.
Therefore, O mighty-armed Achyuta, heavy should be the punishment that
deserves to be speedily inflicted upon them by thyself aided by the
Pandavas and the Srinjayas. Indeed, even this would become the son of
Pritha, and add to thy glory, and if accomplished, will, O Krishna, be a
source of great happiness to the whole Kshatriya race. He that is
covetous, whether belonging to the Kshatriya or any other order, save of
course a Brahmana, even if most sinful, ought surely to be slain by a
Kshatriya, who is true to the duties of his own order. The exception in
the case of a Brahmana, O sire, is due to a Brahmana’s being the
preceptor of all the other orders, as also the first sharer of
everything. Persons conversant with the scriptures declare, O Janardana,
that sin is incurred in slaying one that deserveth not to be slain. So
there is equal sin in not slaying one that deserveth to be slain. Act
thou, therefore, O Krishna, in such a way with the forces of the Pandavas
and the Srinjayas, that sin may not touch thee. From excess of confidence
in thee, O Janardana, I will repeat what hath been said again and again.
Whatever woman, O Kesava, is there on earth like me? I am the daughter of
king Drupada, risen from the sacrificial altar. I am the sister of
Dhrishtadyumna, thy dear friend, O Krishna. I have by marriage become a
lady of Ajamida’s race,--the daughter-in-law of the illustrious Pandu. I
am the queen of Pandu’s sons, who resemble five Indras in splendour. I
have, by these five heroes, five sons that are all mighty car-warriors,
and that are morally bound to thee, O Krishna, as Abhimanyu himself.
Being such, O Krishna, I was seized by the hair, dragged into the
assembly and insulted in the very sight of the sons of Pandu and in thy
life-time. O Kesava, the sons of Pandu, the Panchalas, and the Vrishnis
being all alive, exposed to the gaze of the assembly I was treated as a
slave by those sinful wretches. And when the Pandavas beholding it all
sat silent without giving way to wrath, in my heart I called upon thee, O
Govinda, saying,--“Save me, O save me!”--Then the illustrious king
Dhritarashtra, my father-in-law, said unto me, “Ask thou any boon, O
princess of Panchala. Thou deservest boons and even honour at my hands.”
 Thus addressed I said, “Let the Pandavas be free men with their cars and
weapons.” Upon this the Pandavas, O Kesava, were freed but only to be
exiled into the woods. O Janardana, thou knowest all these sorrows of
mine. Rescue me, O lotus-eyed one, with my husbands, kinsmen, and
relatives, from that grief. Morally, O Krishna, I am the daughter-in-law
of both Bhishma and Dhritarashtra. Though such, I was yet forcibly made a
slave. Fie to Partha’s bowmanship, oh, fie to Bhimasena’s might since
Duryodhana, O Krishna, liveth for even a moment. If I deserve any favour
at thy hands, if thou hast any compassion for me, let thy wrath, O
Krishna, be directed towards the sons of Dhritarashtra.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having said this, the beautiful Krishna of eyes
that were black in hue and large like lotus leaves, bathed in tears, and
walking like a cow-elephant, approached the lotus-eyed Krishna, and
taking with her left hand her own beautiful tresses of curly ends,
deep-blue in hue and scented with every perfume, endued with every
auspicious mark, and though gathered into a braid, yet soft and glossy
like a mighty snake, spake these words, ‘Lotus-eyed one that art anxious
for peace with the enemy, thou shouldst, in all thy acts, call to thy
mind these tresses of mine seized by Dussasana’s rude hands! If Bhima and
Arjuna, O Krishna, have become so low as to long for peace, my aged
father then with his war-like sons will avenge for me in battle. My five
sons also that are endued with great energy, with Abhimanyu, O slayer of
Madhu, at their head, will fight with the Kauravas. What peace can this
heart of mine know unless I behold Dussasana’s dark arm severed from his
trunk and pulverised to atoms? Thirteen long years have I passed in
expectation of better times, hiding in my heart my wrath like a
smouldering fire. And now pierced by Bhima’s wordy darts that heart cf
mine is about to break, for the mighty-armed Bhima now casteth his eye on
morality.’ Uttering these words with voice choked in tears, the large-eyed
Krishna began to weep aloud, with convulsive sobs, and tears gushed down
her cheeks. And that lady, with hips full and round, began to drench her
close and deep bosom by the tears she shed which were hot as liquid fire.
The mighty-armed Kesava then spoke, comforting her in these words, ‘Soon
wilt thou, O Krishna, behold the ladies of Bharata’s race weep as thou
dost. Even they, O timid one, will weep like thee, their kinsmen and
friends being slain. They with whom, O lady, thou art angry, have their
kinsmen and warriors already slain. With Bhima and Arjuna and the twins,
at Yudhishthira’s command, and agreeably to fate, and what hath been
ordained by the Ordainer, I will accomplish all this. Their hour having
arrived, the sons of Dhritarashtra, if they do not listen to my words,
will surely lie down on the earth turned as morsels of dogs and jackals.
The mountains of Himavat might shift their site, the Earth herself might
split into a hundred fragments, the firmament itself with its myriads of
stars might fall down, still my words can never be futile. Stop thy
tears, I swear to thee, O Krishna, soon wilt thou see thy husbands, with
their enemies slain, and with prosperity crowning them.’”


“Arjuna said, ‘Thou art now, O Kesava, the best friend of all the Kurus.
Related with both the parties, thou art the dear friend of both. It
behoveth thee to bring about peace between the Pandavas and the sons of
Dhritarashtra. Thou, O Kesava, art competent and, therefore, it behoveth
thee to bring about a reconciliation. O lotus-eyed one, proceeding hence
for peace, O slayer of foes, say unto our ever-wrathful brother
Suyodhana, what, indeed, should be said, “If the foolish Duryodhana doth
not accept thy auspicious and beneficial counsels fraught with virtue and
profit, he will surely then be the victim of his fate.”’

“The holy one said, ‘Yes, I will go to king Dhritarashtra, desirous of
accomplishing what is consistent with righteousness, what may be
beneficial to us, and what also is for the good of the Kurus.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “The night having passed away, a bright sun
arose in the east. The hour called Maitra set in, and the rays of the sun
were still mild. The month was (Kaumuda Kartika) under the constellation
Revati. It was the season of dew, Autumn having departed. The earth was
covered with abundant crops all around. It was at such a time that
Janardana, the foremost of mighty persons, in enjoyment of excellent
health, having heard the auspicious, sacred-sounding and sweet words of
gratified Brahmanas, like Vasava himself hearing the adorations of the
(celestial) Rishis,--and having also gone through the customary acts and
rites of the morning, purified himself by a bath, and decked his person
with unguents and ornaments, worshipped both the Sun and Fire. And having
touched the tail of a bull and reverently bowed to the Brahmanas, walked
round the sacred fire, and cast his eyes on the (usual) auspicious
articles placed in view, Janardana recollected Yudhishthira’s word and
addressed Sini’s grandson Satyaki, seated near, saying, “Let my car be
made ready and let my conch and discus along with my mace, and quivers
and darts and all kinds of weapons, offensive and defensive, be placed on
it, for Duryodhana and Karna and Suvala’s son are all of wicked souls,
and foes, however contemptible, should never be disregarded by even a
powerful person.” Understanding the wishes of Kesava, the wielder of the
discus and the mace, his attendants immediately addressed themselves to
yoke his car. And that car resembled in effulgence the fire that shows
itself at the time of the universal dissolution, and itself in speed. And
it was provided with two wheels that resembled the sun and the moon in
lustre. And it bore emblazonments of moons, both crescent and full, and
of fishes, animals, and birds and it was adorned with garlands of diverse
flowers and with pearls and gems of various kinds all around. And endued
with the splendour of the rising sun, it was large and handsome. And
variegated with gems and gold, it was furnished with an excellent
flag-staff bearing beautiful pennons. And well-supplied with every
necessary article, and incapable of being resisted by the foe, it was
covered with tiger-skins, and capable of robbing the fame of every foe,
it enhanced the joy of the Yadavas. And they yoked unto it those
excellent steeds named Saivya and Sugriva and Meghapushpa and Valahaka,
after these had been bathed and attired in beautiful harness. And
enhancing the dignity of Krishna still further, Garuda, the lord of the
feathery creation, came and perched on the flag-staff of that car
producing a terrible rattle. And Saurin then mounted on that car, high as
the summit of the Meru, and producing a rattle, deep and loud as the
sound of the kettle-drum or the clouds and which resembled the celestial
car coursing at the will of the rider. And taking Satyaki also upon it,
that best of male beings set out, filling the earth and the welkin with
the rattle of his chariot-wheels. And the sky became cloudless, and
auspicious winds began to blow around, and the atmosphere freed from the
dust became pure. Indeed, as Vasudeva set out, auspicious animals and
birds, whirling by the right side, began to follow him, and cranes and
peacocks and swans all followed the slayer of Madhu, uttering cries of
good omens. The very fire, fed with Homa libations in accompaniment with
Mantras, freed from smoke blazed up cheerfully, sending forth its flames
towards the right. And Vasishtha and Vamadeva, and Bhuridyumna and Gaya,
and Kratha and Sukra and Kusika and Bhrigu, and other Brahmarshis and
celestial Rishis united together, all stood on the right side of Krishna,
that delighter of the Yadavas, that younger brother of Vasava. And thus
worshipped by those and other illustrious Rishis and holy men, Krishna
set out for the residence of the Kurus. And while Krishna was proceeding,
Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, followed him, as also Bhima and Arjuna
and those other Pandavas, viz., the twin sons of Madri. And the valiant
Chekitana and Dhrishtaketu, the ruler of the Chedis, and Drupada and the
king of Kasi and that mighty car-warrior Sikhandin, and Dhrishtadyumna,
and Virata with his sons, and the princes of Kekaya also,--all these
Kshatriyas followed that bull of the Kshatriya race to honour him. And
the illustrious king Yudhishthira the just, having followed Govinda to
some distance, addressed him in these words in the presence of all those
kings. And the son of Kunti embraced that foremost of all persons, who
never, from desire, or anger, or fear, or purpose of gain committed the
least wrong, whose mind was ever steady, who was a stranger to
covetousness, who was conversant with morality and endued with great
intelligence and wisdom, who knew the hearts of all creatures and was the
lord of all, who was the God of gods, who was eternal, who was possessed
of every virtue, and who bore the auspicious mark on his breast. And
embracing him the king began to indicate what he was to do.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘That lady who hath brought us from our infancy; who
is ever engaged in fasts and ascetic penances and propitiatory rites and
ceremonies; who is devoted to the worship of the gods and guests; who is
always engaged in waiting upon her superiors; who is fond of her sons,
bearing for them an affection that knows no bounds; who, O Janardana, is
dearly loved by us; who, O grinder of foes, repeatedly saved us from the
snares of Suyodhana, like a boat saving a ship-wrecked crew from the
frightful terrors of the sea; and who, O Madhava, however undeserving of
woe herself, hath on our account endured countless sufferings,--should be
asked about her welfare--Salute and embrace, and, oh, comfort her over and
over, overwhelmed with grief as she is on account of her sons by talking
of the Pandavas. Ever since her marriage she hath been the victim,
however undeserving, of sorrow and griefs due to the conduct of her
father-in-law, and suffering hath been her position. Shall I, O Krishna,
ever see the time when, O chastiser of foes, my afflictions being over, I
shall be able to make my sorrowing mother happy? On the eve of our exile,
from affection for her children, she ran after us in anguish, crying
bitterly. But leaving her behind, we went into the woods. Sorrow doth not
necessarily kill. It is possible, therefore, that she is alive, being
hospitably entertained by the Anartas, though afflicted with sorrow on
account of her sons. O glorious Krishna, salute her for me, the Kuru king
Dhritarashtra also, and all those monarchs who are senior to us in age,
and Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, and king Vahlika, and Drona’s son and
Somadatta, and in fact, every one of the Bharata race, and also Vidura
endued with great wisdom, that counsellor of the Kurus, of profound
intellect and intimate acquaintance with morality,--should all, O slayer
of Madhu, be embraced by thee!’ Having in the presence of the kings, said
these words unto Kesava, Yudhishthira, with Krishna’s permission, came
back having at first walked round him. Then Arjuna, proceeding a few
steps, further said unto his friend, that bull among men, that slayer of
hostile heroes, that invincible warrior of Dasarha’s race, ‘It is known
to all the kings, O illustrious Govinda, that at our consultation it was
settled that we should ask back the kingdom. If without insulting us, if
honouring thee, they honestly give us what we demand, then, O mighty
armed one, they would please me greatly and would themselves escape a
terrible danger. If, however, Dhritarashtra’s son, who always adopts
improper means, acts otherwise, then I shall surely, O Janardana,
annihilate the Kshatriya race.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “When Arjuna said these words, Vrikodara was
filled with delight. And that son of Pandu continually quivered with
rage; and while still quivering with rage and the delight that filled his
heart upon hearing Dhananjaya’s words, he set forth a terrible shout. And
hearing that shout of his, all the bowmen trembled in fear and steeds and
elephants were seen to pass urine and excreta. And having addressed
Kesava then and informed him of his resolution, Arjuna with Janardana’s
permission, came back, having first embraced him. And after all the kings
had desisted following him, Janardana set out with a cheerful heart on
his car drawn by Saivya, Sugriva, and others. And those steeds of
Vasudeva, urged by Daruka, coursed onwards, devouring the sky and
drinking the road. And on his way Kesava of mighty arms met with some
Rishis blazing with Brahmic lustre, standing on both sides of the road,
And soon alighting from his car, Janardana saluted them reverently. And
worshipping them duly, he enquired of them, saying, ‘Is there peace in
all the world? Is virtue being duly practised? And the other three orders
obedient to the Brahmanas?’ And having duly worshipped them, the slayer of
Madhu again said, ‘Where have ye been crowned with success? Whither would
ye go, and for what object? What also shall I do for yourselves? What has
brought your illustrious selves down on the earth?’ Thus addressed,
Jamadagni’s son, the friend of Brahma--that lord of both gods and
Asuras,--approached Govinda the slayer of Madhu, embraced him, and said,
‘The celestial Rishis of pious deeds, and Brahmanas of extensive
acquaintance with the scriptures, and royal sages, O Dasarha, and
venerable ascetic,--these witnesses, O illustrious one, of the former
feats of gods and Asuras,--are desirous of beholding all the Kshatriyas
of the earth assembled from every side as also the counsellors sitting in
the assembly, the kings, and thyself the embodiment of truth, O
Janardana. O Kesava, we will go thither for beholding that grand sight.
We are also anxious, O Madhava, to listen to those words fraught with
virtue and profit, which will be spoken by thee, O chastiser of foes,
unto the Kurus in the presence of all the kings. Indeed, Bhishma, and
Drona, and others, as also the illustrious Vidura and thyself, O tiger
among the Yadavas,--Ye all will be assembled together in conclave! We
desire, O Madhava, to hear the excellent, truthful, and beneficial words
that thou wilt utter and they also, O Govinda. Thou art now informed of
our purpose, O thou of mighty arms. We will meet thee again. Go thither
safely, O hero. We hope to see thee in the midst of the conclave, seated
on an excellent seat mustering all thy energy and might.’”


Vaisampayana said, “O smiter of foes, when Devaki’s son of mighty arms
set out (for Hastinapura), ten mighty car-warriors, capable of slaying
hostile heroes, fully armed, followed in his train. And a thousand
foot-soldiers, and a thousand horsemen, and attendants by hundreds, also
formed his train, carrying, O king, provisions in abundance.”

Janamejaya said, “How did the illustrious slayer of Madhu, of Dasarha’s
race, proceed on his journey? And what omens were seen when that hero set

Vaisampayana continued, “Listen to me as I narrate all those natural and
unnatural omens that were noticed at the time when the illustrious
Krishna departed (for Hastinapura). Though there were no clouds in the
sky, yet the roll of thunder accompanied by flashes of lightning was
heard. And fleecy clouds in a clear sky rained incessantly in the rear!
The seven large rivers including the Sindhu (Indus) though flowing
eastwards then flowed in opposite directions. The very directions seemed
to be reversed and nothing could be distinguished. Fires blazed up
everywhere, O monarch, and the earth trembled repeatedly. The contents of
wells and water-vessels by hundreds swelled up and ran out. The whole
universe was enveloped in darkness. The atmosphere being filled with
dust, neither the cardinal nor the subsidiary points of the horizon
could, O king, be distinguished. Loud roars were heard in the sky without
any being being visible from whom these could emanate. This wonderful
phenomenon, O king, was noticed all over the country. A south-westerly
wind, with the harsh rattle of the thunder, uprooting trees by the
thousands, crushed the city of Hastinapura. In those places, however, O
Bharata, through which he of Vrishni’s race passed, delicious breezes
blew and everything became auspicious. Showers of lotuses and fragrant
flowers fell there. The very road became delightful, being free from
prickly grass and thorns. At those places where he stayed, Brahmanas by
thousands glorified that giver of wealth with (laudation) and worshipped
him with dishes of curds, ghee, honey, and presents of wealth. The very
women, coming out on the road, strewed wild flowers of great fragrance on
the person of that illustrious hero, devoted to the welfare of all
creatures. He then came upon a delightful spot called Salibhavana which
was filled with every kind of crops, a spot that was delicious and
sacred, after having, O bull of the Bharata race, seen various villages
abounding in bees, and picturesque to the eye, and delightful to the
heart, and after having passed through diverse cities and kingdoms.
Always cheerful and of good hearts, well-protected by the Bharatas and
therefore free from all anxieties on account of the designs of invaders,
and unacquainted with calamities of any kind, many of the citizens of
Upaplavya, coming out of their town, stood together on the way, desirous
of beholding Krishna. And beholding that illustrious one resembling a
blazing fire arrived at the spot, they worshipped him who deserved their
worship with all the honours of a guest arrived in their abode. When at
last that slayer of hostile heroes, Kesava, came to Vrikasthala, the sun
seemed to redden the sky by his straggling rays of light. Alighting from
his car, he duly went through the usual purificatory rites, and ordering
the steeds to be unharnessed, he set himself to say his evening prayers.
And Daruka also, setting the steeds free, tended them according to the
rules of equine science, and taking off the yokes and traces, let them
loose. After this was done, the slayer of Madhu said, ‘Here must we pass
the night for the sake of Yudhishthira’s mission.’ Ascertaining that to be
his intention, the attendants soon set a temporary abode and prepared in
a trice excellent food and drink. Amongst the Brahmanas, O king, that
resided in the village, they that were of noble and high descent, modest,
and obedient to the injunctions of the Vedas in their conduct, approached
that illustrious chastiser of foes, Hrishikesa, and honoured him with
their benedictions and auspicious speeches. And having honoured him of
Dasarha’s race that deserveth honour from every one, they placed at the
disposal of that illustrious person their houses, abounding in wealth.
Saying unto them--‘Enough’--the illustrious Krishna paid them proper
homage, each according to his rank, and wending with them to their house,
he returned in their company to his own (tent). And feeding all the
Brahmanas with sweet-meats and himself taking his meals with them, Kesava
passed the night happily there.”


Vaisampayana said, “Meanwhile, understanding from his spies that the
slayer of Madhu had set out, Dhritarashtra, with his hair standing erect,
respectfully addressing the mighty-armed Bhishma and Drona and Sanjaya
and the illustrious Vidura, said these words unto Duryodhana and his
counsellors, ‘O scion of Kuru’s race, strange and wonderful is the news
that we hear. Men, women and children, are talking of it. Others are
speaking of it respectfully, and others again assembled together. Within
houses where men congregate and in open spots, people are discussing it.
All say that Dasarha of great prowess will come hither for the sake of
Pandavas. The slayer of Madhu is, by all means, deserving of honour and
worship at our hands. He is the Lord of all creatures, and on him resteth
the course of every thing in the universe. Indeed, intelligence and
prowess and wisdom and energy, all reside in Madhava. Worthy of honour at
the hands of all righteous persons he is the foremost of all men, and is,
indeed, eternal Virtue. If worshipped he is sure to bestow happiness; and
if not worshipped he is sure to inflict misery. If that smiter of foes,
Dasarha be gratified with our offerings, all our wishes may be obtained
by us, through his grace, in the midst of the kings. O chastiser of foes,
make without loss of time every arrangement for his reception. Let
pavilions be set up on the road, furnished with every object of
enjoyment. O mighty-armed son of Gandhari, make such arrangements that he
may be gratified with thee. What doth Bhishma think in this matter?’ At
this, Bhishma and others, all applauding those words of king
Dhritarashtra, said,--‘Excellent.’ King Duryodhana then, understanding
their wishes, ordered delightful sites to be chosen for the erection of
pavilions. Many pavilions were thereupon constructed abounding with gems
of every kind, at proper intervals and at delightful spots. And the king
sent thither handsome seats endued with excellent qualities, beautiful
girls, and scents and ornaments, and fine robes, and excellent viands,
and drink of diverse qualities, and fragrant garlands of many kinds. And
the king of the Kurus took especial care to erect, for the reception of
Krishna, a highly beautiful pavilion at Vrikasthala, full of precious
gems. And having made all these arrangements that were god-like and much
above the capacity of human beings, king Duryodhana informed
Dhritarashtra of the same. Kesava, however, of Dasarha’s race, arrived at
the capital of the Kurus, without casting a single glance at all those
pavilions and all those gems of diverse kinds.”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O Vidura, Janardana hath set out from Upaplavya. He
is now staying at Vrikasthala and will come here tomorrow. Janardana is
the leader of the Ahukas, the foremost person amongst all the members of
the Sattwata race, is high-souled, and endued with great energy and great
might. Indeed, Madhava is the guardian and protector of the prosperous
kingdom of Vrishnis and is the illustrious Great-Grandsire of even the
three worlds. The Vrishnis adore the wisdom of the intelligent Krishna,
even as the Adityas, the Vasus, and the Rudras adore the wisdom of
Vrihaspati. O virtuous one, I will in thy presence, offer worship unto
that illustrious scion of Dasarha’s race. Listen to me about that
worship. I will give him sixteen cars made of gold, each drawn by four
excellent and well-adorned steeds of uniform colour and of the Vahlika
breed. O Kaurava, I will give him eight elephants with temporal juice
always trickling down and tusks as large as poles of ploughs, capable of
smiting hostile ranks, and each having eight human attendants. I will
give him a century of handsome maid-servants of the complexion of gold,
all virgins, and man-servants I will give him as many. I will give him
eighteen thousand woolen blankets soft to the touch, all presented to us
by the hill-men. I will also give him a thousand deer-skins brought from
China and other things of the kind that may be worthy of Kesava. I will
also give him this serene gem of the purest rays that shines day and
night, for Kesava alone deserves it. This car of mine drawn by mules that
makes a round of full fourteen Yojanas a day, I will also give him. I
will place before him every-day provisions eight times greater than what
is necessary for the animals and attendants that form his train. Mounted
on their cars, having their person well-adorned, all my sons and
grandsons, save Duryodhana, will go out to receive him. And thousands of
graceful and well-decked dancing girls will go out on foot to receive the
illustrious Kesava. And the beautiful girls that will go out of the town
for receiving Janardana will go out unveiled. Let all the citizens with
their wives and children behold the illustrious slayer of Madhu with as
much respect and devotion as they show when casting their eyes on the
morning sun. Let the canopy all round, at my command, be crowded with
pendants and banners, and let the road, by which Kesava will come, be
well-watered and its dusts removed. Let Dussasana’s abode, which is
better than Duryodhana’s, be cleansed and well-adorned without delay.
That mansion consisting of many beautiful buildings, is pleasant and
delightful, and abounds with the wealth of all seasons. It is in that
abode that all my wealth, as also Duryodhana’s, are deposited. Let all
that scion of the Vrishni race deserves be given unto him.’”


“Vidura said, ‘O monarch, O best of men, thou art respected by three
worlds. Thou, O Bharata, art loved and regarded by every body. Venerable
in year as thou art, what thou wilt say at this age can never be against
the dictates of the scriptures or the conclusions of well-directed
reason, for thy mind is ever calm. Thy subjects, O king, are well-assured
that, like characters on stone, light in the sun, and billows in the
ocean, virtue resideth in thee permanently. O monarch, every one is
honoured and made happy in consequence of thy numerous virtues. Strive,
therefore, with thy friends and kinsmen to retain those virtues of thine.
Oh, adopt sincerity of behaviour. Do not from folly, cause a wholesale
destruction of thy sons, grandsons, friends, kinsmen, and all that are
dear to thee. It is much, O king, that thou wishes to give unto Kesava as
thy guest. Know, however, that Kesava deserves all this and much more,
aye, the whole earth itself. I truly swear by my own soul that thou dost
not wish to give all this unto Krishna either from motives of virtue or
for the object of doing what is agreeable to him. O giver of great
wealth, all this betrays only deception, falsehood, and insincerity. By
the external acts, O king, I know thy secret purpose. The five Pandavas,
O king, desire only five villages. Thou, however, dost not wish to give
them even that. Thou art, therefore, unwilling to make peace. Thou
seekest to make the mighty-armed hero of Vrishni’s race thy own by means
of thy wealth; in foot, by this means, thou seekest to separate Kesava
from the Pandavas. I tell thee, however, that thou art unable, by wealth,
or attention, or worship, to separate Krishna from Dhananjaya. I know the
magnanimity of Krishna; I know the firm devotion of Arjuna towards him, I
know that Dhananjaya, who is Kesava’s life, is incapable of being given
up by the latter. Save only a vessel of water, save only the washing of
his feet, save only the (usual) enquiries after the welfare (of those he
will see), Janardana will not accept any other hospitality or set his
eyes on any other thing. Offer him, however, O king, that hospitality
which is the most agreeable to that illustrious one deserving of every
respect, for there is no respect that may not be offered to Janardana.
Give unto Kesava, O king, that object in expectation of which, from
desire of benefiting both parties, he cometh to the Kurus. Kesava desires
peace to be established between thee and Duryodhana on one side and the
Pandavas on the other. Follow his counsels, O, monarch. Thou art their
father, O king, and the Pandavas are thy sons. Thou art old, and they are
children to thee in years, behave as father towards them, that are
disposed to pay thee filial regard.’”


“Duryodhana said, ‘All that Vidura hath said about Krishna, hath indeed,
been truly said; for Janardana is greatly devoted to the Pandavas and can
never be separated from them. All the diverse kinds of wealth, O foremost
of kings, that are proposed to be bestowed upon Janardana ought never to
be bestowed upon him. Kesava is, of course, not unworthy of our worship,
but both time and place are against it, for he (Krishna), O king, on
receiving our worship, will very likely think that we are worshipping him
out of fear. This is my certain conviction, O king, that an intelligent
Kshatriya must not do that which may bring disgrace upon him. It is
well-known to me that the large-eyed Krishna deserveth the most
reverential worship of the three worlds. It is quite out of place,
therefore, O illustrious king, to give him anything now, for war having
been decided upon, it should never be put off by hospitality.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of his, the Grandsire of
the Kurus spoke these words unto the royal son of Vichitravirya,
‘Worshipped or not worshipped, Janardana never becometh angry. None,
however, can treat him with disrespect, for Kesava is not contemptible.
Whatever, O mighty one, he purposeth to do is incapable of being
frustrated by anybody by every means in his power. Do without hesitation
what Krishna of mighty arms sayeth and bring about peace with the
Pandavas through Vasudeva as the means. Truly Janardana, possessed of
virtuous soul, will say what is consistent with religion and profit. It
behoveth thee, therefore, with all thy friends, to tell him what only is
agreeable to him.’

“Duryodhana said, ‘O Grandsire, I can, by no means, live by sharing this
swelling prosperity of mine with the Pandavas. Listen, this, indeed, is a
great resolution which I have formed. I will imprison Janardana who is
the refuge of the Pandavas. He will come here tomorrow morning; and when
he is confined, the Vrishnis and the Pandavas, aye, the whole earth, will
submit to me. What may be the means for accomplishing it, so that
Janardana may not guess our purpose, and so that no danger also may
overtake us, it behoveth thee to say.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these fearful words of his son about
imprisoning Krishna, Dhritarashtra, with all his counsellors, was very
much pained and became deeply afflicted. King Dhritarashtra then spoke
those words unto Duryodhana, ‘O ruler of men, never say this again, this
is not immemorial custom. Hrishikesa cometh here as an ambassador. He is,
besides, related to and is dear to us. He hath done us no wrong; how then
doth he deserves imprisonment?’

“Bhishma said, ‘This wicked son of thine, O Dhritarashtra, hath his hour
come. He chooseth evil, not good, though entreated by his well-wishers.
Thou also followest in the wake of this wicked wretch of sinful
surroundings, who treadeth a thorny path setting at naught the words of
his well-wisher. This exceedingly wicked son of thine with all his
counsellors coming in contact with Krishna of unstained acts, will be
destroyed in a moment. I dare not listen to the words of this sinful and
wicked wretch that hath abandoned all virtue.’

“Having said this, that aged chief of the Bharata race, Bhishma of
unbaffled prowess, inflamed with rage rose and left that place.”


Vaisampayana said, “Rising up (from his bed) at day-dawn, Krishna went
through his morning rites, and taking leave of the Bharatas, set out for
the city (of the Kurus). And all the inhabitants of Vrikasthala, bidding
farewell unto that mighty one of long arms while he was about to depart,
all returned to their homes. And all the Dhartarashtras except
Duryodhana, attired in excellent robes, and with Bhishma, Drona, Kripa,
and others, went out to meet him. And the citizens by thousands, O king,
on cars of diverse kinds, and many on foot, also came out, desirous of
beholding Hrishikesa. And meeting on the way Bhishma of spotless deed,
and Drona, and Dhritarashtra’s sons, he entered the city, surrounded by
them all. And in honour of Krishna, the city was beautifully adorned, and
the principal streets were decorated with diverse jewels and gems. And, O
king, O bull of the Bharata race, on that occasion no one,--man, woman,
or child,--remained in doors, so eager were the citizens for beholding
Vasudeva. And all the citizens came out and lined the streets and bent
their heads down to the ground singing eulogies in his honour, O king,
when Hrishikesa entered the city and passed through it. And substantial
mansions, filled with high-born ladies, seemed to be on the point of
falling down on the ground in consequence of their living weight. And
although Vasudeva’s steeds were endued with great speed, yet they moved
very slowly through that dense mass of human beings. And that lotus-eyed
grinder of foes then entered Dhritarashtra’s ash-coloured palace which
was enriched with numerous buildings. And having passed through the first
three chambers of the palace, that chastiser of foes, Kesava, came upon
the royal son of Vichitravirya. And upon that son of Dasarha’s race
approaching his presence, the blind monarch of great fame stood up along
with Drona and Bhishma, Kripa and Somadatta, and king Vahlika also,--all
stood up for honouring Janardana. And the Vrishni hero, having approached
king Dhritarashtra of great fame, worshipped him and Bhishma with proper
words and without losing any time. And having offered that worship unto
them according to established usage, Madhava the slayer of Madhu, greeted
the other kings according to their seniority in years. And Janardana then
accosted the illustrious Drona and his son, and Vahlika, and Kripa, and
Somadatta. And there in that chamber lay a spacious seat of beautiful
workmanship, made of gold and set with jewels. And at Dhritarashtra’s
request, Achyuta took that seat; and the priests of Dhritarashtra duly
offered Janardana a cow, honey and curds and water. And after the rites
of hospitality were over, Govinda remained there for a while, surrounded
by the Kurus, laughing and jesting with them according to their
relationship with him. And that illustrious grinder of foes, honoured and
worshipped by Dhritarashtra, came out with the king’s permission. And
Madhava having duly greeted all the Kurus in their assembly, then went to
the delightful abode of Vidura; and Vidura, having approached Janardana
of Dasarha’s race thus arrived at his abode, worshipped him with every
auspicious and desirable offering. And he said, ‘What use, O lotus-eyed
one, in telling thee of the joy I feel at this advent of thine, for thou
art the inner Soul of all embodied creatures.’ And after the hospitable
reception was over, Vidura, conversant with all the principles of
morality, enquired of Govinda, the slayer of Madhu, about the welfare of
Pandavas. And that scion of Dasarha’s race, that chief of the Vrishnis,
unto whom the past and the future were as the present, knowing that
Vidura was loved by the Pandavas and friendly towards them, and learned,
and firm in morality, and honest, and harbouring no wrath (against the
Pandavas), and wise, began to tell him everything in detail about the
doings of the sons of Pandu.”


Vaisampayana said, “Janardana, the chastiser of foes, after his meeting
with Vidura, went then in the afternoon to his paternal aunt, Pritha. And
beholding Krishna whose countenance beamed with the effulgence of the
radiant sun arrived at her abode, she encircled his neck with her arms
and began to pour forth her lamentations remembering her sons. And at the
sight, after a long time, of Govinda of Vrishni’s race, the companion of
those mighty children of hers, the tears of Pritha flowed fast. And after
Krishna, that foremost of warriors, had taken his seat having first
received the rites of hospitality, Pritha, with a woe-begone face and
voice choked with tears addressed him, saying, ‘They, who, from their
earliest years have always waited with reverence on their superiors;
they, who, in friendship are attached to one another; they, who, deprived
deceitfully of their kingdom had gone to seclusion, however worthy of
living in the midst of friends and attendants,--they, who have subjugated
both wrath and joy, are devoted to Brahmans, and truthful in
speech,--those children of mine, who, abandoning kingdom and enjoyments
and leaving my miserable self behind, had gone to the woods, plucking the
very roots of my heart,--those illustrious sons of Pandu, O Kesava, who
have suffered woe however undeserving of it,--how, alas, did they live in
the deep forest abounding with lions and tigers and elephants? Deprived
in their infancy of their father, they were all tenderly brought up by
me. How, also, did they live in the mighty forest, without seeing both
their parents? From their infancy, O Kesava, the Pandavas were aroused
from their beds by the music of conchs and drums and flutes. That they
who while at home, used to sleep in high palatial chambers on soft
blankets and skins of the Runku deer and were waked up in the morning by
the grunt of elephants, the neighing of steeds, the clatter of car-wheels
and the music of conchs and cymbals in accompaniment with the notes of
flutes and lyres,--who, adored at early dawn with sacred sounding hymns
uttered by Brahmanas, worshipped those amongst them that deserved such
worship with robes and jewels and ornaments, and who were blessed with
the auspicious benedictions of those illustrious members of the
regenerate order, as a return for the homage the latter received,--that
they, O Janardana, could sleep in the deep woods resounding with the
shrill and dissonant cries of beasts of prey can hardly be believed,
undeserving as they were of so much woe. How could they, O slayer of
Madhu, who were roused from their beds by music of cymbals and drums and
conchs and flutes, with the honeyed strains of songstresses and the
eulogies chanted by bards and professional reciters,--alas, how could
they be waked in the deep woods by the yells of wild beasts? He that is
endued with modesty, is firm in truth, with senses under control and
compassions for all creatures,--he that hath vanquished both lust and
malice and always treadeth the path of the righteous, he that ably bore
the heavy burthen borne by Amvarisha and Mandhatri, Yayati and Nahusha and
Bharata and Dilip and Sivi the son of Usinara and other royal sages of
old, he that is endued with an excellent character and disposition, he
that is conversant with virtue, and whose prowess is incapable of being
baffled, he that is fit to become the monarch of the three worlds in
consequence of his possession of every accomplishment, he that is the
foremost of all the Kurus lawfully and in respect of learning and
disposition, who is handsome and mighty-armed and hath no enemy,--Oh, how
is that Yudhishthira of virtuous soul, and of complexion like that of
pure gold? He that hath the strength of ten thousand elephants and the
speed of the wind, he that is mighty and ever wrathful amongst the sons
of Pandu, he that always doth good to his brothers and is, therefore,
dear to them all, he, O slayer of Madhu, that slew Kichaka with all his
relatives, he that is the slayer of the Krodhavasas, of Hidimva, and of
Vaka, he that in prowess is equal unto Sakra, and in might unto the
Wind-god, he that is terrible, and in wrath is equal unto Madhava
himself, he that is the foremost of all smiters,--that wrathful son of
Pandu and chastiser of foes, who, restraining his rage, might,
impatience, and controlling his soul, is obedient to the commands of his
elder brother,--speak to me, O Janardana, tell me how is that smiter of
immeasurable valour, that Bhimasena, who in aspect also justifies his
name--that Vrikodara possessing arms like maces, that mighty second son
of Pandu? O Krishna, that Arjuna of two arms who always regardeth himself
as superior to his namesake of old with thousand arms, and who at one
stretch shooteth five hundred arrows, that son of Pandu who in the use of
weapons is equal unto king Kartavirya, in energy unto Aditya, in
restraint of senses unto a great sage, in forgiveness unto the Earth, and
in prowess unto Indra himself,--he, by whose prowess, O slayer of Madhu,
the Kurus amongst all the kings of the earth have obtained this extensive
empire, blazing with effulgence,--he, whose strength of arms is always
adored by the Pandavas,--that son of Pandu, who is the foremost of all
car-warriors and whose prowess is incapable of being frustrated,--he,
from an encounter with whom in battle no foe ever escapeth with
life,--he, O Achyuta, who is the conqueror of all, but who is incapable
of being conquered by any,--he, who is the refuge of the Pandavas like
Vasava of the celestials,--how, O Kesava, is that Dhananjaya now, that
brother and friend of thine? He that is compassionate to all creatures,
is endued with modesty and acquainted with mighty weapons, is soft and
delicate and virtuous,--he that is dear to me,--that mighty bowman
Sahadeva, that hero and ornament of assemblies,--he, O Krishna, who is
youthful in years, is devoted to the service of his brothers, and is
conversant with both virtue and profit, whose brothers, O slayer of
Madhu, always applaud the disposition of that high-souled and
well-behaved son of mine,--tell me, O thou of the Vrishni race, of that
heroic Sahadeva, that foremost of warriors, that son of Madri, who always
waiteth submissively on his elder brothers and so reverentially on me. He
that is delicate and youthful in years, he that is brave and handsome in
person,--that son of Pandu who is dear unto his brothers as also unto
all, and who, indeed, is their very life though walking with a separate
body,--he that is conversant with various modes of warfare,--he that is
endued with great strength and is a mighty bowman,--tell me, O Krishna,
whether that dear child of mine, Nakula, who was brought up in luxury, is
now well in body and mind? O thou of mighty arms, shall I ever behold
again Nakula of mine, that mighty car-warrior, that delicate youth
brought up in every luxury and undeserving of woe? Behold, O hero, I am
alive today, even I, who could know peace by losing sight of Nakula for
the short space of time taken up by a wink of the eye. More than all my
sons, O Janardana, is the daughter of Drupada dear to me. High-born and
possessed of great beauty, she is endued with every accomplishment.
Truthful in speech, she chose the company of her lords, giving up that of
her sons, Indeed, leaving her dear children behind, she followeth the
sons of Pandu. Waited upon at one time by a large train of servants, and
adored by her husbands with every object of enjoyment, the possessor of
every auspicious mark and accomplishment, how, O Achyuta, is that
Draupadi now? Having five heroic husbands who are all smiters of foes and
all mighty bowmen, each equal unto Agni in energy, alas, woe hath yet
been the lot of Drupada’s daughter. I have not for fourteen long years, O
chastiser of foes, beheld the princess of Panchala, that daughter-in-law
of mine who herself hath been a prey to constant anxiety on account of
her children, whom she hath not seen for that period. When Drupada’s
daughter endued with such a disposition, doth not enjoy uninterrupted
happiness, it seemeth, O Govinda, that the happiness one enjoyeth is
never the fruit of one’s acts. When I remember the forcible dragging of
Draupadi to the assembly, then neither Vibhatsu nor Yudhishthira, nor
Bhima, nor Nakula, nor Sahadeva, becometh an object of affection to me.
Never before had a heavier grief been mine than what pierced my heart
when that wretch Dussasana, moved by wrath and covetousness, dragged
Draupadi, then in her flow, and therefore clad in a single raiment, into
the presence of her father-in-law in the assembly and exposed her to the
gaze of all the Kurus. It is known that amongst those that were present,
king Vahlika, Kripa, Somadatta, were pierced with grief at this sight,
but of all present in that assembly, it was Vidura whom I worship.
Neither by learning, nor by wealth doth one become worthy of homage. It
is by disposition alone that one becomes respectable, O Krishna, endued
with great intelligence and profound wisdom, the character of the
illustrious Vidura, like unto an ornament (that he wears) adorns the
whole world.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Filled with delight at the advent of Govinda,
and afflicted with sorrow (on account of her sons) Pritha gave expression
to all her diverse griefs. And she said, ‘Can gambling and the slaughter
of deer, which, O chastiser of foes, occupied all wicked kings of old, be
a pleasant occupation for the Pandavas? The thought consumeth, O Kesava,
that being dragged into the presence of all the Kurus in their assembly
by Dhritarashtra’s sons, insults worse than death were heaped on Krishna,
O chastiser of foes, the banishment of my sons from their capital and
their wanderings in the wilderness,--these and various other griefs, O
Janardana, have been mine. Nothing could be more painful to me or to my
sons themselves, O Madhava, than that they should have had to pass a
period of concealment, shut up in a stranger’s house. Full fourteen years
have passed since the day when Duryodhana first exiled my sons. If misery
is destructive of fruits of sins, and happiness is dependent on the
fruits of religious merit, then it seems that happiness may still be ours
after so much misery. I never made any distinction between
Dhritarashtra’s sons and mine (so far as maternal affection is
concerned). By that truth, O Krishna, I shall surely behold thee along
with the Pandavas safely come out of the present strife with their foes
slain, and the kingdom recovered by them. The Pandavas themselves have
observed their vow with such truthfulness sticking to Dharma that they
are incapable of being defeated by their enemies. In the matter of my
present sorrows, however, I blame neither myself nor Suyodhana, but my
father alone. Like a wealthy man giving away a sum of money in gift, my
father gave me away to Kuntibhoja. While a child playing with a ball in
my hands, thy grandfather, O Kesava, gave me away to his friend, the
illustrious Kuntibhoja. Abandoned, O chastiser of foes, by my own father,
and my father-in law, and afflicted with insufferable woes, what use, O
Madhava, is there in my being alive? On the night of Savyasachin’s birth,
in the lying-in-room, an invisible voice told me, “This son of thine will
conquer the whole world, and his fame will reach the very heavens.
Slaying the Kurus in a great battle and recovering the kingdom, thy son
Dhananjaya will, with his brothers, perform three grand sacrifices.” I do
not doubt the truth of that announcement. I bow unto Dharma that upholds
the creation. If Dharma be not a myth, then, O Krishna, thou wilt surely
achieve all that the invisible voice said. Neither the loss of my
husband, O Madhava, nor loss of wealth, nor our hostility with the Kurus
ever inflicted such rending pains on me as that separation from my
children. What peace can my heart know when I do not see before me that
wielder of Gandiva, viz., Dhananjaya, that foremost of all bearers of
arms? I have not, for fourteen years, O Govinda, seen Yudhishthira, and
Dhananjaya, and Vrikodara. Men perform the obsequies of those that are
missed for a long time, taking them for dead. Practically, O Janardana,
my children are all dead to me and I am dead to them.’

“‘Say unto the virtuous king Yudhishthira, O Madhava, that “Thy virtue, O
son, is daily decreasing. Act thou, therefore, in such a way that thy
religious merit may not diminish.” Fie to them that live, O Janardana, by
dependence on others. Even death is better than a livelihood gained by
meanness. Thou must also say unto Dhananjaya and the ever-ready Vrikodara
that--“The time for that event is come in view of which a Kshatriya woman
bringeth forth a son. If you allow the time to slip without your achieving
anything, then, though at present ye are respected by all the world, ye
will be only doing that which would be regarded as contemptible. And if
contempt touches you, I will abandon you for ever. When the time cometh,
even life, which is so dear, should be laid down.” O foremost of men, thou
must also say unto Madri’s sons that are always devoted to Kshatriya
customs.--“More than life itself, strive ye to win objects of enjoyment,
procurable by prowess, since objects won by prowess alone can please the
heart of a person desirous of living according to Kshatriya customs.”
 Repairing thither, O mighty-armed one, say unto that foremost of all
bearers of arms, Arjuna the heroic son of Pandu,--“Tread thou the path
that may be pointed out to thee by Draupadi.” It is known to thee, O
Kesava, that when inflamed with rage, Bhima and Arjuna, each like unto
the universal Destroyer himself, can slay the very gods. That was a great
insult offered unto them, viz., that their wife Krishna, having been
dragged into the assembly was addressed in such humiliating terms by
Dussasana and Karna. Duryodhana himself hath insulted Bhima of mighty
energy in the very presence of the Kuru chiefs. I am sure he will reap
the fruit of that behaviour, for Vrikodara, provoked by a foe, knoweth no
peace. Indeed, once provoked, Bhima forgets it not for a long while, even
until that grinder of foes exterminates the enemy and his allies. The
loss of kingdom did not grieve me; the defeat at dice did not grieve me.
That the illustrious and beautiful princess of Panchala was dragged into
the assembly while clad in a single raiment and made to hear bitter words
grieved me most. What, O Krishna, could be a greater grief to me? Alas,
ever devoted to Kshatriya customs and endued with great beauty, the
princess, while ill, underwent that cruel treatment, and though
possessing powerful protectors was then as helpless as if she had none. O
slayer of Madhu, having thee and that foremost of all mighty persons,
Rama, and that mighty car-warrior Pradyumna for me and my children’s
protectors and having, O foremost of men, my sons the invincible Bhima
and the unretreating Vijaya both alive, that I had still such grief to
bear is certainly strange!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by her, Sauri the friend of
Partha, then comforted his paternal aunt, Pritha, afflicted with grief on
account of her sons. And Vasudeva said, ‘What woman is there, O aunt, in
the world who is like thee? The daughter of king Surasena, thou art, by
marriage, admitted into Ajamida’s race. High-born and highly married,
thou art like a lotus transplanted from one mighty lake into another.
Endued with every prosperity and great good fortune, thou wert adored by
thy husband. The wife of a hero, thou hast again given birth to heroic
sons. Possessed of every virtue, and endued with great wisdom, it
behoveth thee to bear with patience, both happiness and misery.
Overcoming sleep and langour, and wrath and joy, and hunger and thirst,
and cold and heat, thy children are always in the enjoyment of that
happiness, which, as heroes, should by theirs. Endued with great exertion
and great might, thy sons, without affecting the comforts derivable from
the senses such as satisfy only the low and the mean, always pursue that
happiness which as heroes they should. Nor are they satisfied like little
men having mean desires. They that are wise enjoy or suffer the same of
whatever enjoyable or sufferable. Indeed, ordinary persons, affecting
comforts that satisfy the low and the mean, desire an equable state of
dullness, without excitement of any kind. They, however, that are
superior, desire either the acutest of human suffering or the highest of
all enjoyments that is given to man. The wise always delight in extremes.
They find no pleasure betwixt; they regard the extreme to be happiness,
while that which lies between is regarded by them as misery. The Pandavas
with Krishna saluteth thee through me. Representing themselves to be
well, they have enquired after thy welfare. Thou wilt soon behold them
become the lords of the whole world, with their foe slain, and themselves
invested with prosperity.’

“Thus consoled by Krishna, Kunti, afflicted with grief on account of her
sons, but soon dispelling the darkness caused by her temporary loss of
understanding, replied unto Janardana, saying, ‘Whatever, O mighty-armed
one, thou, O slayer of Madhu, regardest as proper to be done, let that be
done without sacrificing righteousness, O chastiser of foes, and without
the least guile. I know, O Krishna, what the power of thy truth and of
thy lineage is. I know also what judgment and what prowess thou bringest
to bear upon the accomplishment of whatever concerns thy friends. In our
race, thou art Virtue’s self, thou art Truth, and thou art the embodiment
of ascetic austerities. Thou art the great Brahma, and everything rests
on thee. What, therefore, thou hast said must be true.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Bidding her farewell and respectfully walking
round her, the mighty-armed Govinda then departed for Duryodhana’s


Vaisampayana said, “With Pritha’s leave and having walked round her, the
chastiser of foes, Govinda, also called Sauri, went to Duryodhana’s
palace that was furnished with great wealth, adorned with beautiful
seats, and was like unto the abode of Purandara himself. Unobstructed by
the orderlies-in-waiting, that hero of great fame crossed three spacious
yards in succession and then entered that mansion looking like a mass of
clouds, high as the summit of a hill, and blazing forth in splendour. And
he there beheld Dhritarashtra’s son of mighty arms seated on his throne
in the midst of a thousand kings and surrounded by all the Kurus. And he
also beheld there Dussasana and Karna and Sakuni, the son of Suvala,
seated on their respective seats by the side of Duryodhana. And on that
scion of Dasarha’s race entering the court, Dhritarashtra’s son of great
fame rose up from his seat with his counsellors for honouring the slayer
of Madhu. And Kesava then greeted Dhritarashtra’s sons and all his
counsellors as also all the kings that were present there, according to
their respective ages. And Achyuta of Vrishni’s race then took his seat
on a beautiful seat made of gold and overlaid with carpet embroidered
with gold. And the Kuru king then offered unto Janardana a cow, and honey
and curds and water, and placed at his service palaces and mansions and
the whole kingdom. And then the Kauravas, with all the kings there
present, worshipped Govinda on his seat and resembling the sun himself in
splendour. The worship being over, king Duryodhana invited him of
Vrishni’s race--that foremost of victors--to eat at his house. Kesava,
however did not accept the invitation. The Kuru king Duryodhana seated in
the midst of the Kurus, in a gentle voice but with deception lurking
behind his words, eyeing Karna, and addressing Kesava, then said, ‘Why, O
Janardana, dost thou not accept the diverse kinds of viands and drinks,
robes and beds that have all been prepared and kept ready for thee? Thou
hast granted aid to both sides; thou art engaged in the good of both
parties. Thou art again the foremost of Dhritarashtra’s relations and
much loved by him. Thou, O Govinda, also knowest fully, and all things in
details, both religion and profit. I, therefore, desire to hear, O bearer
of the discus and the mace, what the true reason is of this thy refusal.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “The high-souled Govinda, of eyes like lotus
leaves, then raising his mighty (right) arm, and in a voice deep as that
of the clouds, replied unto the king in excellent words fraught with
reasons,--words that were clear, distinct, correctly pronounced, and
without a single letter dropped, saying, ‘Envoys, O king, eat and accept
worship only after the success of their missions. Therefore, O Bharata,
after my mission becomes successful, thou mayest entertain me and my
attendants.’ Thus answered, Dhritarashtra’s son again said unto
Janardana, ‘It behoveth thee not, O Kesava, to behave towards us in this
way. Whether thou becomest successful, or unsuccessful, we are
endeavouring to please thee, O slayer of Madhu, because of thy
relationship with us. It seems, however, that all our efforts, O thou of
Dasarha’s race, are fruitless. Nor do we see the reason, O slayer of
Madhu, in consequence of which, O foremost of men, thou acceptest not the
worship offered by us from love and friendship. With thee, O Govinda, we
have no hostility, no war. Therefore, on reflection, it will seem to thee
that words such as these scarcely become thee.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by the king, Janardana of
Dasarha’s race, casting his eyes on Dhritarashtra’s son and all his
counsellors, replied, saying, ‘Not from desire, nor from wrath, nor from
malice, nor for gain, nor for the sake of argument, nor from temptation,
would I abandon virtue. One taketh another’s food when one is in
distress. At present, however, O king, thou hast not inspired love in me
by any act of thine, nor have I myself been plunged into distress.
Without any reason, O king, thou hatest, from the moment of their birth,
thy dear and gentle brothers,--the Pandavas--endued with every virtue.
This unreasonable hatred of thine for the sons of Pritha ill becometh
thee. The sons of Pandu are all devoted to virtue. Who, indeed, can do
them the least injury? He that hateth them, hateth me; he that loveth
them, loveth me. Know that the virtuous Pandavas and my own self have but
a common soul. He, who, following the impulses of lust and wrath, and
from darkness of soul, hateth and seeketh to injure one that is possessed
of every good quality, is regarded as the vilest of men. That wrathful
wretch of every good quality, is regarded as the vilest of men. That
wrathful wretch of uncontrolled soul, who, from ignorance and avarice
hateth his kinsmen endued with every auspicious quality, can never enjoy
his prosperity long. He, on the other hand, who, by good offices, winneth
over persons endued with good qualities, even if he beareth aversion of
them within his heart, enjoyeth prosperity and fame for ever and ever.
Defiled by wickedness, all this food, therefore, deserveth not to be
eaten by me. The food supplied by Vidura alone, should, I think, be eaten
by me.’

“Having said this unto Duryodhana who was ever incapable of bearing
anything against his own wishes, Kesava of mighty arms then came out of
that blazing palace of Dhritarashtra’s son. And the high-souled Vasudeva
of mighty arms, coming out of that mansion, directed his steps towards
the abode of the illustrious Vidura. And while that mighty-armed one
staying within Vidura’s abode, thither came unto him Drona, and Kripa,
and Bhishma, and Vahlika, and many of the Kauravas. And the Kauravas that
came there addressed Madhava, the heroic slayer of Madhu, saying, ‘O thou
of Vrishni’s race, we place at thy disposal our houses with all the
wealth within them.’

“The slayer of Madhu, of mighty energy, answered them saying, ‘Ye may go
away. I am much honoured by these your offers.’ And after all the Kurus
had gone away, Vidura, with great care entertained that unvanquished hero
of Dasarha’s race with every object of desire. And Kunti then placed
before the illustrious Kesava clean and savoury food in abundance.
Therewith the slayer of Madhu first gratified the Brahmanas. Indeed, from
that food he first gave a portion, along with much wealth, unto a number
of Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas, and then with his attendants,
like Vasava in the midst of the Marutas, he dined on what remained of the
clean and savoury food supplied by Vidura.”


Vaisampayana said, “After Kesava had dined and been refreshed, Vidura
said unto him during the night, ‘O Kesava, this advent of thine hath not
been a well judged one, for, O Janardana, Dhritarashtra’s son
transgresseth the rules of both profit and religion, is wicked and
wrathful, insulteth others, though himself desirous of honours, and
disobeyeth the commands of the aged. He is, O Madhava, a transgressor of
the scriptures, ignorant, and of wicked soul, already overtaken by fate,
untractable, and disposed to do evil to those that seek his good. His
soul is possessed by desire and lust. He foolishly regardeth himself as
very wise. He is the enemy of all his true friends. Ever-suspicious,
without any control over his soul, and ungrateful, he hath abandoned all
virtue and is in love with sin. He is foolish, with understanding
uncultivated, a slave of his senses, ever obedient to the impulses of
lust and avarice, and irresolute in every act that should be done. He is
endued with these and many other vices. Although thou wilt point out to
him what is for his good, he will yet disregard it all, moved by pride
and anger. He hath great faith in Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, and
Karna, and Drona’s son, and Jayadratha, and, therefore, he never setteth
his heart on peace, O Janardana. Dhritarashtra’s sons, with Karna, firmly
believe that the Pandavas are incapable of even looking at Bhishma,
Drona, and other heroes, not to speak of fighting against them. The
foolish Duryodhana of limited sight, having assembled a huge army
regardeth, O slayer of Madhu, that his purposes are already achieved. The
foolish son of Dhritarashtra hath arrived at the conclusion that Karna,
single-handed, is competent to vanquish his foes. He will, therefore,
never make peace. Thou, O Kesava, desirest to establish peace and
brotherly feelings between the two parties. But know that all the sons of
Dhritarashtra have come to the conclusion that they would not give unto
the Pandavas what, indeed, the latter have a right to. With those that
are so resolved thy words will certainly prove vain. Where, O slayer of
Madhu, words, good or bad, are of the same effect, no wise man would
spend his breath for nothing, like a singer before the deaf. As a
Brahmana before a conclave of Chandalas, thy words, O Madhava, would
command no respect among those ignorant and wicked wretches that have no
reverence for all that deserveth reverence. Foolish, as long as he hath
strength, he will never obey thy counsels. Whatever words thou mayest
speak to him will be perfectly futile. It doth not seem proper to me, O
Krishna, that thou shouldst go into the midst of these wicked-minded
wretches seated together. It doth not seem proper to me, O Krishna, that
going thither thou shouldst utter words against those wicked-souled,
foolish, unrighteous wights, strong in number. In consequence of their
having never worshipped the aged, in consequence of their having been
blinded by prosperity and pride, and owing to the pride of youth and
wrath, they will never accept the good advice thou mayest place before
them. He hath mustered a strong force, O Madhava, and he hath his
suspicions of thyself. He will, therefore, never obey any counsel that
thou mayest offer. The sons of Dhritarashtra, O Janardana, are inspired
with the firm belief that at present Indra himself, at the head of all
the celestials, is incapable of defeating them in battle. Efficacious as
thy words always are, they will prove to be of no efficacy with persons
impressed with such a conviction and who always follow the impulses of
lust and wrath. Staying in the midst of his ranks of elephants and his
army consisting of cars and heroic infantry, the foolish and wicked
Duryodhana, with all fears dispelled, regardeth the whole earth to have
already been subjugated by him. Indeed, Dhritarashtra’s son coveteth
extensive empire on the earth without any rivals. Peace, therefore, with
him is unattainable. That which he hath in his possession he regardeth as
unalterably his. Alas, the destruction on the earth seems to be at hand
for the sake of Duryodhana, for, impelled by fate, the kings of the
earth, with all the Kshatriya warriors, have assembled together, desirous
of battling with the Pandavas. All those kings, O Krishna, are in enmity
with thee and have all been deprived of their possessions before this by
thee. Through fear of thee those heroic monarchs have joined together
with Karna and made an alliance with Dhritarashtra’s sons. Reckless of
their very lives, all those warriors have united with Duryodhana and are
filled with delight at the prospect of fighting the Pandavas. O hero of
Dasarha’s race, it doth not commend itself to me that thou shouldst enter
into their midst. How, O grinder of foes, wilt thou repair into the midst
of those numerous enemies of thine, of wicked souls, and seated together?
O thou of mighty arms, thou art, indeed, incapable of being vanquished by
the very gods, and I know, O slayer of foes, thy manliness and
intelligence. O Madhava, the love I bear to thee is equal to that I bear
to the sons of Pandu. I say, therefore, these words to thee from my
affection, regard, and friendship for thee. What need is there in
expressing to thee the delight that has been mine at sight of thy
persons, for, thou, O thou of eyes like lotus, art the inner Soul of all
embodied creatures.’”


“The holy one said, ‘That, indeed, which should be said by a person of
great wisdom: that, indeed, which should be said by one possessed of
great foresight; that indeed, which should be said by one like thee to a
friend like me; that indeed, which is deserving of thee, being consistent
with virtue and profit, and truth; that, O Vidura, hath been said by
thee, father and mother-like, unto me. That which thou hast told me is
certainly true, worthy of approbation and consistent with reason. Listen,
however, with attention, O Vidura, to the reason of my coming. Well
knowing the wickedness of Dhritarashtra’s son and the hostility of the
Kshatriyas that have sided with him, I have still, O Vidura, come to the
Kurus. Great will be the merit earned by him who will liberate from the
meshes of death the whole earth, with her elephants, cars and steeds,
overwhelmed with a dreadful calamity. If a man striving to the best of
his abilities to perform a virtuous act meets with failure, I have not
the least doubt that the merit of that act becomes his, notwithstanding
such failure. This also is known to those that are conversant with
religion and scripture, that if a person having intended mentally to
commit a sinful act does not actually commit it, the demerit of that act
can never be his. I will sincerely endeavour, O Vidura, to bring about
peace between the Kurus and the Srinjayas who are about to be slaughtered
in battle. That terrible calamity (which hangs over them all) hath its
origin in the conduct of the Kurus, for it is directly due to the action
of Duryodhana and Karna, the other Kshatriyas only following the lead of
these two. The learned regard him to be a wretch who doth not by his
solicitation seek to save a friend who is about to sink in calamity.
Striving to the best of his might, even to the extent of seizing him by
the hair, one should seek to dissuade a friend from an improper act. In
that case, he that acteth so, instead of incurring blame, reapeth praise.
It behoveth Dhritarashtra’s son, therefore, O Vidura, with his
counsellors, to accept my good and beneficial counsels that are
consistent with virtue and profit and competent to dispel the present
calamity. I will, therefore, sincerely endeavour to bring about the good
of Dhritarashtra’s sons and of the Pandavas, as also of all the
Kshatriyas on the face of the earth. If while endeavouring to bring about
the good (of my friends), Duryodhana judgeth me wrongly, I shall have the
satisfaction of my own conscience, and a true friend is one who assumeth
the functions of an intercessor when dissensions break out between
kinsmen. In order, again, that unrighteous, foolish, and inimical persons
may not afterwards say that though competent, still Krishna did not make
any attempt to restrain the angry Kurus and the Pandavas from
slaughtering one another I have come here. Indeed, it is to serve both
parties that I have come hither. Having striven to bring about peace, I
will escape the censure of all the kings. If after listening to my
auspicious words, fraught with virtue and profit, the foolish Duryodhana
accept them not, he will only invite his fate. If without sacrificing the
interests of the Pandavas I can bring about peace among the Kurus, my
conduct will be regarded as highly meritorious, O high-souled one, and
the Kauravas themselves will be liberated from the meshes of death. If
the sons of Dhritarashtra reflect coolly on the words I shall
utter--words fraught with wisdom, consistent with righteousness, and
possessed of grave import,--then that peace which is my object will be
brought about and the Kauravas will also worship me (as the agent
thereof). If, on the other hand, they seek to injure me, I tell thee that
all the kings of the earth united together, are no match for me, like a
herd of deer incapable of standing before an enraged lion.’”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having said these words, that bull of the
Vrishni race and delighter of Yadavas, then laid himself down on his soft
bed for sleep.”


Vaisampayana said, “In such conversation between those two distinguished
persons, both of whom were endued with great intelligence, that night,
lit with bright stars, passed away. Indeed, the night passed away against
the wishes of the illustrious Vidura, who had been listening to the
varied conversation of Krishna fraught with virtue, profit, and desire,
and made up of delightful words and syllables of agreeable import; and
also those of Krishna himself, of immeasurable prowess, listening to
discourses equal in style and character. Then, at early dawn a band of
choristers and bards gifted with melodious voices, awoke Kesava with
sweet sounds of conchs and cymbals. And rising from bed, Janardana of
Dasarha’s race, that bull amongst all the Sattwatas, went through all the
customary acts of the morning. And having cleansed himself by a bath,
recited the sacred Mantras and poured libations of clarified butter on
the sacrificial fire, Madhava decked his person and began to worship the
rising sun. And while the unvanquished Krishna of Dasarha’s race was
still engaged in his morning devotions, Duryodhana and Suvala’s son
Sakuni came to him and said, ‘Dhritarashtra is seated in his court, with
all the Kurus headed by Bhishma and with all the kings of the earth. They
are all soliciting thy presence, O Govinda, like the celestials in heaven
desiring the presence of Sakra himself,’--thus addressed, Govinda greeted
them both with sweet and courteous enquiries. And when the sun had risen
a little higher, Janardana, that chastiser of foes, summoning a number of
Brahmanas, made them presents of gold and robes and kine and steeds.

“And after he had thus given away much wealth and taken his seat, his
driver (Daruka) came and saluted that unvanquished hero of Dasarha’s
race. And Daruka soon returned with his master’s large and blazing car
furnished with rows of tinkling bells and harnessed with excellent
steeds. And understanding that his handsome car adorned with every
ornament and producing a rattle, deep as the rumbling of the mighty
masses of clouds, was ready, the high-souled Janardana, that delighter of
all the Yadavas, walking round the sacred fire and a band of Brahmanas,
and putting on the gem known by the name of Kaustubha, and blazing with
beauty, surrounded by the Kurus, and well-protected by the Vrishnis,
mounted on it. And Vidura, conversant with all the precepts of religion,
followed on his own car that scion of Dasarha’s race, that foremost of
all living creatures, that first of all persons gifted with intelligence.
And Duryodhana and Suvala’s son Sakuni also on one car followed Krishna,
that chastiser of foes. And Satyaki and Kritavarman and the other mighty
car-warriors of the Vrishni race, all rode behind Krishna on cars and
steeds and elephants. And, O king, the handsome cars of those heroes,
adorned with gold and drawn by excellent steeds and each producing a loud
rattle, as they moved forward, shone brilliantly. And Kesava, endued with
great intelligence, and beaming with beauty, soon came upon a broad
street that had previously been swept and watered, and that was fit to be
used by the highest of kings. And when that scion of Dasarha’s race set
out, cymbals began to play, and conchs began to be blown, and other
instruments also to pour forth their music. And great number of youthful
heroes, foremost in the world for heroism, and possessed of lion-like
prowess, proceeded, surrounding Sauri’s car. And many thousands of
soldiers, attired in a variegated dresses, bearing swords and lances and
axes, marched in advance of Kesava. And there were full five hundred
elephants, and cars by thousands, that followed that unvanquished hero of
Dasarha’s race while he proceeded. And, O chastiser of foes, all the
citizens of the capital, of all ages and both sexes, desirous of
beholding Janardana came out into the streets. And the terraces and
balconies of the houses were so thronged by ladies that the houses were
on the point of falling down with the weight. And worshipped by the
Kurus, and listening to various sweet speeches, and returning the
greetings of all as each deserved, Kesava went along the street, casting
his eyes on all. And at last, when Kesava reached the Kuru court, his
attendants loudly blew their conchs and trumpets and filled the welkin
with that blare. And, thereupon, that whole assembly of kings, of
immeasurable prowess, trembled with delight at the expectation of soon
setting their eyes on Krishna. And hearing the rattle of his car, that
rumbled like the deep roll of rain-charged clouds, the monarchs
understood Krishna to be near, and the hair of their bodies stood erect
with delight. And having reached the gate of the court, Sauri, that bull
among the Satwatas, alighting from his car, that resembled the summit of
Kailasa, entered the court which looked like a mass of newly-risen
clouds, and blazed forth with beauty, and resembled the very abode of the
great Indra. And that illustrious hero entered the court, arm-in-arm with
Vidura and Satyaki on either side, and overshadowing with his own the
splendour of all the Kurus, like the sun overshadowing the radiance of
lesser lights in the firmament. And before Vasudeva sat Karna and
Duryodhana, while behind him were seated the Vrishnis with Kritavarman.
And Bhishma and Drona, and others with Dhritarashtra were on the point of
rising up from their seats for honouring Janardana. Indeed, as soon as
he, of Dasarha’s race, came, the illustrious blind monarch, Drona and
Bhishma, all rose up from their seats. And when that mighty ruler of men,
king Dhritarashtra, rose up from his seat, those kings by thousands
around him all rose up also. And at Dhritarashtra’s command, a seat
beautiful all over, and adorned with gold, had been kept there for
Krishna. And after taking his seat, Madhava smilingly greeted the king,
and Bhishma, and Drona, and all other rulers, each according to his age.
And all the kings of the earth, and all the Kurus also, beholding Kesava
arrived in that assembly, worshipped him duly. And as that chastiser of
foes, that vanquisher of hostile cities, that hero of Dasarha’s race, was
seated there, he beheld the Rishis whom he had seen while proceeding to
Hastinapura, staying in the firmament. And beholding those Rishis with
Narada at their head, he of Dasarha’s race, slowly addressed Bhishma the
son of Santanu, saying, ‘O king, the Rishis have come to see this earthly
conclave of ours. Invite them with offer of seats and abundant courtesy,
for if they are not seated, no one here is capable of taking his seat.
Let proper worship, therefore, be speedily offered unto these Rishis with
souls under proper control.’ And beholding the Rishis then at the gate of
the palace, Santanu’s son quickly ordered the servants to bring seats for
them. And soon enough they brought large and beautiful seats embroidered
with gold and set with gems. And after the Rishis, O Bharata, had taken
their seats and accepted the Arghyas offered to them, Krishna took his
seat, so also all the kings. And Dussasana gave an excellent seat to
Satyaki, while Vivinsati gave another golden one to Kritavarman. And not
far from where Krishna sat, that illustrious and wrathful pair, Karna and
Duryodhana, sat together on the same seat. And Sakuni, the king of
Gandhara, surrounded by the chiefs of his country, sat there, O king,
with his son beside him. And the high-souled Vidura sat on a begemmed
seat covered with a white deer-skin that almost touched Krishna’s seat.
And all the kings in the assembly, although they gazed at Janardana of
Dasarha’s race for a long while, were not, however, gratified with their
gaze, like drinkers of the Amrita, that are never satiated with quaffing
measure after measure. And Janardana attired in yellow robes having the
complexion of the Atasi flower, sat in the midst of that assembly like a
sapphire mounted on gold. And after Govinda had taken his seat, a perfect
silence ensued, for none present there spoke a single word.”


Vaisampayana said, “And after all the kings had been seated and perfect
silence had ensued, Krishna possessing fine teeth and having a voice deep
as that of the drum, began to speak. And Madhava although he addressed
Dhritarashtra, spoke in a voice deep as the roll of clouds in the rainy
season, making the whole assembly hear. And he said, ‘In order that, O
Bharata, peace may be established between the Kurus and the Pandavas
without a slaughter of the heroes, I have come hither. Besides this, O
king, I have no other beneficial words to utter. O chastiser of foes,
everything that should be learnt in this world is already known to thee.
This thy race, O king, owing to its learning and behaviour, and owing
also to its being adorned with every accomplishment, is most
distinguished among all royal dynasties. Joy in the happiness of others,
grief at sight of other people’s misery, desire to alleviate distress,
abstention from injury, sincerity, forgiveness, and truth,--these, O
Bharata, prevail amongst the Kurus. Then thy race, therefore, O king, is
so noble, it would be a pity if anything improper were done by any one
belonging to it, and greater pity still if it were done by thee. O chief
of the Kurus, thou art the first of those that should restrain the Kurus
if they behave deceitfully towards strangers or those numbering with
themselves. Know, O thou of Kuru’s race, that those wicked sons of thine,
headed by Duryodhana, abandoning both virtue and profit, disregarding
morality, and deprived of their senses by avarice, are now acting most
unrighteously towards, O bull of men, their foremost of kinsmen. That
terrible danger (which threatens all) hath its origin in the conduct of
the Kurus. If thou becomest indifferent to it, it will then produce a
universal slaughter. If, O Bharata, thou art willing, thou mayest be able
to allay that danger even yet, for, O bull of Bharata’s race, peace, I
think, is not difficult of acquisition. The establishment of peace, O
king, depends on thee and myself, O monarch. Set right thy sons, O thou
of Kuru’s race, and I will set the Pandavas right. Whatever be thy
command, O king, it behoveth thy sons with their followers to obey it. If
again they live in obedience to thee, that would be the very best they
could do. If thou strivest for peace by restraining thy sons, it will be
to thy profit, O king, as also to the benefit of the Pandavas. Having
reflected carefully, act thou thyself, O king. Let those sons of Bharata
(the Pandavas), be, O ruler of men, thy allies. Supported by the
Pandavas, O king, seek thou both religion and profit. By every exertion
in thy power, thou canst not have, O king, such allies as they who are
such. Protected by the illustrious sons of Pandu, Indra himself at the
head of the celestials will not be able to vanquish thee. How would it be
possible then for mere earthly kings to withstand thy prowess? If with
Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, and Karna, and Vivinsati, and
Aswatthaman, Vikarna, and Somadatta, and Vahlika and the chief of the
Sindhus, and the ruler of the Kalingas, and Sudakshina, the king of the
Kamvojas, there were Yudhishthira, and Bhimasena and Savyasachin, and the
twins, and if Satyaki of mighty energy, and Yuyutsu, that mighty car
warrior, are stationed, who is there, O bull of Bharata’s race, of such
misdirected intelligence that would fight these? If, O slayer of foes,
thou hast both the Kurus and the Pandavas at thy back, the sovereignty of
the whole world and invincibility before all foes will be thine. All the
rulers of the earth, O monarch, that are either equal to thee or
superior, will then seek alliance with thee. Protected on all sides by
sons, grandsons, fathers, brothers, and friends, thou wilt then be able
to live in exceeding happiness. Keeping these before thee and treating
them with kindness as in days of yore, thou, O monarch, wilt enjoy the
sovereignty of the whole earth. With these as thy supporters and with the
sons of Pandu also, thou wilt, O Bharata, be able to conquer all thy
foes. Even this is thy best advantage. If, O chastiser of foes, thou art
united with thy sons and kinsmen and counsellors, thou wilt enjoy
sovereignty of the whole earth won for thee by them. In battle, O great
king, nothing but wholesale destruction is visible. Indeed, in the
destruction of both the parties, what merit dost thou see? If the
Pandavas are slaughtered in battle, or if thy own mighty sons fall, tell
me, O bull of Bharata’s race, what happiness wilt thou enjoy? All of them
are brave and skilled in weapons. All of them are desirous of battle, the
Pandavas as also thy sons. Oh, save them from the terrible danger that
threatens them. After the battle thou wilt not behold all the Kurus or
all the Pandavas. Car-warriors slain by car-warriors, thou wilt behold
the heroes of both parties reduced in numbers and strength. All the
rulers of the earth, O best of kings, have been assembled together.
Inflamed with wrath, they will certainly exterminate the population of
the earth. Save, O king, the world. Let not the population of the earth
be exterminated. O son of Kuru’s race, if thou regainest thy natural
disposition, the earth may continue to be peopled as now. Save, O king,
these monarchs, who are all of pure descent, endued with modesty and
liberality and piety, and connected with one another in bonds of
relationship or alliance, from the terrible danger that threatens them.
Abandoning wrath and enmity, O chastiser of foes, let these kings,
embracing one another in peace, eating and drinking with one another,
dressed in excellent robes and decked with garlands, and doing courtesies
to one another, return to their respective homes. Let the affection thou
hadst for the Pandavas be revived in thy bosom, and let it, O bull of
Bharata’s race, lead to the establishment of peace. Deprived of their
father while they were infants, they were brought up by thee. Cherish
them now as becomes thee, O bull of Bharata’s race, as if they were thy
own sons. It is thy duty to protect them. And especially it is so when
they are distressed. O bull of Bharata’s race, let not thy virtue and
profit be both lost. Saluting and propitiating thee, the Pandavas have
said unto thee, “At thy command we have, with our followers, suffered
great misery. For these twelve years have we lived in the woods, and for
the thirteenth year have we lived incognito in an uninhabited part of the
world. We broke not our pledge, firmly believing that our father also
would abide by his. That we violated not our word is well-known to the
Brahman as who were with us. And as we, O bull of the Bharata race, have
abided by our promise, also do thou abide by thine. Long have we suffered
the greatest misery, but let us now have our share of the kingdom. Fully
conversant as thou art with virtue and profit, it behoveth thee to rescue
us. Knowing that our obedience is due to thee, we have quietly undergone
much misery. Behave thou then unto us like a father or brother. A
preceptor should behave as a preceptor towards his disciples, and as
disciples we are willing to behave as such towards thee, our preceptor.
Act thou, therefore, towards us as a preceptor should. If we go wrong, it
is the duty of our father to set us right. Therefore, set us on the way
and tread thou also the excellent path of righteousness.” Those sons of
thine, O bull of the Bharata race, have also said unto these kings
assembled in the court these words, “If the members of an assembly are
conversant with morality, nothing improper should be permitted by them to
happen. Where, in the presence of the virtuous members of an assembly,
righteousness is sought to be overpowered by unrighteousness, and truth
by the untruth, it is those members themselves that are vanquished and
slain. When righteousness, pierced by unrighteousness, seeketh the
protection of an assembly, if the arrow is not extracted, it is the
members themselves that are pierced by that arrow. Indeed, in that case,
righteousness slayeth the members of that assembly, like a river eating
away the roots of the trees on its bank.” Judge now, O bull of the
Bharata race. The Pandavas, with their eyes turned towards righteousness
and reflecting on everything, are maintaining a calm attitude, and what
they have said is consistent with truth and virtue and justice. O ruler
of men, what canst thou say unto them, but that thou art willing to give
them back their kingdom? Let these rulers of earth that are sitting here
say (what the answer should be)! If it appears to thee that what I have
said after reflecting well on virtue to be true, save all these
Kshatriyas, O bull of the Bharata race, from the meshes of death. Effect
peace, O chief of Bharata’s race, and yield not to anger. Giving unto the
Pandavas their just share of the paternal kingdom, enjoy thou then, with
thy sons, O chastiser of foes, happiness and luxury, thy wishes being all
crowned with success. Know that Yudhishthira always treadeth the path
that is trod by the righteous. Thou knowest also, O king, what the
behaviour of Yudhishthira is towards thee and thy sons. Although thou
hadst sought to burn him to death and hadst exiled him from human
habitation, yet he came back and once more repose confidence in thee.
Again, didst thou with thy sons, banish him to Indraprastha? While there,
he brought all the kings of the earth to subjection and yet looked up to
thy face, O king, without seeking to disregard thee. Although he behaved
in this way, yet Suvala’s son, desirous of robbing him of his dominions
and wealth and possessions, applied the very efficacious means of dice.
Reduced to that condition and even beholding Krishna dragged into the
assembly, Yudhishthira of immeasurable soul, did not yet swerve from the
duties of a Kshatriya. As regards myself, I desire, O Bharata, thy good
as also theirs. For the sake of virtue, of profit, of happiness, make
peace, O king, and do not allow the Earth’s population to be slaughtered,
regarding evil as good and good as evil. Restrain thy sons, O monarch,
who have from covetousness proceeded too far. As regards the sons of
Pritha, they are equally ready to wait upon thee in dutiful service or to
fight. That which, O chastiser of foes, seems to thee to be for thy good,
do thou adopt!’”

Vaisampayana continued, “All the rulers of earth there present highly
applauded these words of Kesava within their hearts, but none of them
ventured to say anything in the presence of Duryodhana.”


Vaisampayana said, “Hearing these words uttered by the high-souled
Kesava, all the persons who sat in that assembly remained silent, their
hair standing on their ends. And all the kings thought within themselves
that there was no man who could dare reply to that speech. And seeing
that all the kings sat silent, Jamadagni’s son (addressing Duryodhana)
then said these words in that assembly of Kurus, ‘Listen confidingly to
my words illustrated by an example, and seek thy own good if my speech
recommends itself to thee. There was a king of yore named Dambhodbhava,
who was the Head of the earth. It hath been heard by us that his
sovereignty extended over the whole world. And that mighty car-warrior,
rising every morning after the night had passed away, called the
Brahmanas and the Kshatriyas unto himself and asked them, saying, “Be he
a Sudra, a Vaisya, a Kshatriya, or a Brahmana, is there any one who is
superior or even equal to me in battle?” And uttering these words that
king wandered over the earth, intoxicated with pride and thinking of
nothing else. And it so happened that certain Brahmanas endued with high
souls, conversant with the Vedas, and fearing nothing on earth,
counselled the monarch, repeatedly boasting of his prowess, to curb his
pride. But though forbidden by those Brahmanas to boast in that way, the
king continued to ask the Brahmanas as before the same question day after
day. And some high-souled Brahmanas then, endued with ascetic merit and
acquainted with the proofs furnished by the Vedas, were inflamed with
anger, and addressing that proud and boastful king intoxicated with
prosperity, told him, “There are two persons who are foremost of all men
and who are always victorious in battle. Thou, O king, wilt by no means
be equal to them if thou seekest an encounter with any one of them.” And
thus addressed by them, the king asked those Brahmanas, saying, “Where
may those two heroes be found? In what race are they born? What feats
have they achieved? And who are they?” And the Brahmanas answered him,
saying, “It had been heard by us that those two persons are ascetics
called Nara and Narayana. They have both taken their births in the race
of man. Go and fight with them, O king. It is that illustrious pair, Nara
and Narayana, who are now practising the severest of penances in some
hidden region of the mountains of Gandhamadana.” Hearing those words of
the Brahmanas, that king speedily mustered his large army consisting of
six kinds of forces,[7] and unable to bear their reputation, marched to
the spot where those unvanquished ascetics were, and arrived at the
rugged and frightful mountains of Gandhamadana. He began to search after
those Rishis, and at last, came upon them concealed within the woods. And
beholding those two best of persons emaciated with hunger and thirst,
their veins swollen and visible, and themselves much afflicted with cold
winds, and the hot rays of the sun, he approached them, and touching
their feet, enquired after their welfare. And the two Rishis received the
king hospitably, with fruits and roots, and a seat and water. And they
then enquired after the king’s business, saying, “Let it be done.” And
thus addressed by them, the king said unto them the same words that he
was in the habit of saying unto all. And he said, “The whole earth has
been conquered by the might of my arms. All my foes have been slain.
Desiring a battle with you both I have come to this mountain. Offer me
this hospitality. I have been cherishing this wish from a long time.”
 Thus addressed, Nara and Narayana said, “O best of kings, wrath and
covetousness have no place in this retreat. How can a battle, therefore,
be possible here? There are no weapons here, and nothing of
unrighteousness and malice. Seek battle elsewhere. There are many
Kshatriyas on earth.”’

“Rama continued, ‘Although thus addressed, the king still pressed them
for giving him battle. The Rishis, however, continually soothed him and
overlooked his importunity. King Dambhodbhava, still desirous of battle,
repeatedly summoned those Rishis to fight. Nara, then, O Bharata, taking
up a handful of grass-blades, said, “Desirous of battle as thou art,
come, O Kshatriya, and fight! Take up all thy arms, and array thy troops.
I will curb thy eagerness for battle hereafter!” Dambhodbhava then said,
“If, O ascetic, thou thinkest this weapon of thine fit to be used against
us, I shall fight with thee though thou mayest use that weapon, for I
have come hither desirous of fighting.” Saying this, Dambhodbhava with
all his troops, desirous of slaying that ascetic, covered all sides with
a shower of arrows. That ascetic, however, by means of those blades of
grass, baffled all those terrible shafts of the king that were capable of
mangling the bodies of hostile warriors. The invincible Rishi then let
off towards the king his own terrible weapon made of grass-blades and
which was incapable of being counteracted. And highly wonderful was that
which happened, for that ascetic, incapable of missing his aim, pierced
and cut off, by those grass-blades alone, the eyes and ears and noses of
the hostile warriors, aided also by his power of illusion. And beholding
the entire welkin whitened by those grass-blades, the king fell at the
feet of the Rishi and said, “Let me be blessed!” Ever inclined to grant
protection unto those that sought it, Nara then, O king, said unto that
monarch, “Be obedient to the Brahmanas and be virtuous. Never do so
again. O king, O tiger among monarchs, a conqueror of hostile towns, a
Kshatriya mindful of the duties of his own order, should never, within even
his heart, be as thou art. Filled with pride, never insult anybody on any
occasion, be he inferior or superior to thee. Even such conduct would befit
thee. Acquiring wisdom, abandoning covetousness and pride, controlling
thy soul, restraining thy passions, practising forgiveness and humility,
and becoming amiable, O king, go, and cherish thy subjects. Without
ascertaining the strength and weakness of men, never insult any one under
any circumstances. Blessed be thou, and with our leave, go hence, and
never again behave in this way. At our command, enquire thou always of
the Brahmanas as to what is for thy good.” The king then, worshipping the
feet of those two illustrious Rishis, returned to his city, and from that
time began to practise righteousness. Great indeed, was that feat
achieved of old by Nara. Narayana, again, became superior to Nara in
consequence of many more qualities. Therefore, O king, besides such
weapons as Kakudika, Suka, Naka, Akshisantarjana, Santana, Nartana,
Ghora, and Asyamodaka, are placed on the string of that best of bows
called Gandiva, go thou unto Dhananjaya, laying aside thy pride. Struck
with these weapons, men always yield up their lives. Indeed, these
weapons have other means corresponding with the eight passions, such as
lust, wrath, covetousness, vanity, insolence, pride, malice, and
selfishness. Struck with them, men are confounded, and move about
frantically deprived of their senses. Under their influence, persons
always sleep heavily, cut capers, vomit, pass urine and excreta, weep,
and laugh incessantly. Indeed, that Arjuna is irresistible in fight, who
hath for his friend Narayana--the Creator and Lord of all the
worlds--fully acquainted with the course of everything. Who is there in
the three worlds, O Bharata, who would venture to vanquish that hero--the
Ape-bannered Jishnu--who hath no equal in battle? Countless are the
virtues that reside in Partha. Janardana again, is superior to him. Thou
art thyself well-acquainted with Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti. They that
were Nara and Narayana in days of yore are now Arjuna and Kesava. Know
then, O great king, who those brave and foremost of persons are. If thou
believest in this and dost not mistrust me adopt thou a virtuous
resolution and make peace with the sons of Pandu. If thou regardest this
as thy good, viz., that there should be no disunion in thy family, then
make peace, O foremost of Bharata’s race, and do not set thy heart upon
battle. O thou, that are foremost of Kuru’s line, the race to which thou
belongest is highly regarded on earth. Let that regard continue to be
paid to it. Blessed be thou, think of what conduces to thy own welfare.’”


Vaisampayana said, “Having listened to the words of Jamadagnya, the
illustrious Rishi Kanwa also said these words unto Duryodhana in that
assembly of the Kurus.”

“Kanwa said, ‘Brahman, the Grandsire of the universe, is indestructible
and eternal. Those illustrious Rishis, Nara and Narayana, are of the same
character. Of all the sons of Aditi, Vishnu alone is eternal. He alone is
unconquerable and indestructible, existing for ever, the Lord of all, and
the possessor of divine attributes. All others, such as the sun and the
moon, earth and water, wind, fire and firmament, planets, and stars, are
liable to destruction. All these, when the end of the universe cometh,
take leave of the three worlds. They are destroyed and created again and
again. Others also, such as men and animals and birds, and creatures
belonging to other orders of living existence,--indeed, all that move on
this world of men,--are endued with short lives. And as regards kings,
all of them, having enjoyed great prosperity, reach, at last, the hour of
destruction and are reborn in order to enjoy the fruits of good and evil
deeds. It behoveth thee then to make peace with Yudhishthira. Let the
Pandavas and the Kauravas both rule this earth. O Suyodhana, one should
not think in this way, viz., I am strong!--for O bull among men, it is
seen that there are persons stronger than those generally regarded
strong. O son of Kuru’s race, physical strength is scarcely regarded as
strength by those that are really strong. As regards the Pandavas, endued
as they all are with prowess equal to that of the celestials, they are
also regarded as strong. In this connection is cited an old story, as an
example, the story, viz., of Matali searching for a bridegroom upon whom
to bestow his daughter. The king of the three worlds (Indra) had a
charioteer, named Matali, whom he dearly loved. Unto him was born a
daughter celebrated over the world for beauty. Endued with the celestial
beauty, that daughter of Matali was known by the name of Gunakesi. And,
indeed, in both loveliness and symmetry of bodily figure, she far
excelled other members of her sex. Knowing that the time for giving her
away had come, Matali with his wife became very anxious, thinking, O
monarch, of what he was to do next. And he thought within himself, “Alas,
the birth of a daughter in the families of those that are well-behaved
and high-born and possess reputation and humility of character, is always
attended with evil results. Daughters, when born in respectable families,
always endanger the honour of three families, viz., their maternal and
paternal families and the family into which they are adopted by marriage.
Glancing in my mind’s eye the worlds of gods and men, I have searched
both, but no eligible bridegroom have I found.”’

“Kanwa continued, ‘And it so happened that amongst the gods, the Daityas
and Gandharvas, men and numerous Rishis, none was regarded by Matali as
an eligible husband for his daughter. And having held a consultation then
in the night with his wife Sudharma, Matali set his heart upon making a
journey to the world of the Nagas. And he thought within himself,
“Amongst both gods and men I have not found a husband fit, in respect of
beauty, for my Gunakesi. Surely, one may be found amongst the Nagas.” And
saying this, he took his wife’s leave and sniffing the head of his
daughter, Matali entered the nether regions.’”


“Kanwa said, ‘When Matali was wending his way, he saw the great Rishi
Narada proceeding at his pleasure to pay a visit to Varuna (the god of
the waters). And beholding Matali, Narada asked him, saying, “Whither
dost thou go? Is it, O charioteer, on any mission of thy own, or is it at
Satakratu’s command, that this journey of thine is undertaken?” Thus
addressed on the way by Narada who was proceeding towards his
destination, Matali duly informed Narada, of his mission. And the Rishi,
informed of everything, then said unto Matali, “We shall go together. As
regards myself, it is to see the Lord of the waters that I am proceeding,
having left the heavens, searching the nether regions, I shall tell you
everything. After a good search there, we shall select a bridegroom, O
Matali.” And penetrating then into nether regions, that illustrious
couple, Matali and Narada, beheld that Regent of the world--the Lord of
the waters. And there Narada received worship due to a celestial Rishi,
and Matali received that equal to what is offered to the great Indra. And
both of them skilful in business, informed Varuna of their purpose, and
obtaining his leave they began to wander in that region of the Nagas. And
Narada who knew all the residents of the nether regions then began to
describe in detail unto his companion all about the dwellers of the Naga

“‘And Narada said, “Thou hast, O charioteer, seen Varuna surrounded by his
sons and grandsons. Behold the dominions of the Lord of the waters. It is
delightful all round, and full of riches. The son, endued with great
wisdom, of Varuna, the Lord of the Ocean, is even much distinguished for
his conduct and disposition and for his holiness. Possessed of eyes like
lotus leaves, this Pushkara is, indeed, Varuna’s much-loved son, endued
with great beauty and delightful to behold. He has been chosen by Soma’s
daughter as her husband. That daughter of Soma, equal in beauty unto a
second Sree, is known by the name of Jyotsnakali. Indeed, it is said,
that she had once before chosen the eldest and foremost of Aditi’s son as
her lord. Behold now, O companion of the Lord of the celestials, that
abode, made entirely of gold, and full of the wine called Varuni. Indeed,
having obtained that wine, the gods acquired their god-heads. These
blazing weapons also of every kind that thou seest, belonged, O Matali,
to the Daityas who have been deprived of their sovereignty. These weapons
are incapable of deterioration, and when hurled at the foe always return
into the hand that hurleth them. Obtained by the gods as the booty of
war, they require considerable mental energy to be used against foes.
Here dwelt in days of yore many tribes of Rakshasas and Daityas,
possessed of many kinds of celestial weapons, but they were all
vanquished by the gods. Behold, there, in Varuna’s lake is that fire of
blazing flames, and that discus of Vishnu surrounded by the lustrous
splendour of mighty caloric. Behold, there lieth that knotty bow that was
created for the destruction of the world. It is always protected with
great vigilance by the gods, and it is from this bow that the one wielded
by Arjuna hath taken its name. Endued with the strength of a hundred
thousand bows, the power it assumes at the hour of battle is
indescribably great. It punishes all punishable wicked kings endued with
the nature of Rakshasas. This fierce weapon was first created by Brahman,
the utterer of the Vedas. The great preceptor Sukra hath said that this
weapon is a terrible one in respect of all kings. Endued with great
energy, it is held by the sons of the Lord of waters. Behold, there in
the umbrella-room is the umbrella of the Lord of the waters. It droppeth
refreshing showers like the clouds. The water dropped from this umbrella,
though pure as the moon, is yet enveloped by such darkness that it cannot
be seen by anybody. There, in these regions, O Matali, innumerable are
the wonders to be seen. Your business, however, will suffer if we spend
more time here. We will, therefore, leave this region soon.”’”


“‘Narada continued, “Here in the very centre of the world of the Nagas is
situated the city known by the name of Patalam. Celebrated over all the
universe, it is worshipped by the Daityas and the Danavas. Creatures
inhabiting the earth, if brought hither by force of the water’s current,
shriek loudly, afflicted with fear. Here the fire known by the name of
the Asura-fire[8] and which is fed by water, continually blazeth forth.
Held fast by the fiat of the celestials, it moveth not, regarding itself
as bound and confined. It was here that the gods, having first
vanquished and slain their foes, quaffed the Amrita and deposited the
residue. It is from this place that the waning and waxing of the moon are
seen. It is here that son of Aditi, the Horse-headed (Vishnu), on the
recurrence of every auspicious occasion, riseth, filling at such times
the universe, otherwise called Suvarna,[9] with the sound of Vedic hymns
and Mantras. And because all watery forms such as the Moon and others
shower their water on the region, therefore hath this excellent region
been called Patala.[10] It is from here that the celestial elephant
Airavata, for the benefit of the universe, taketh up cool water in order
to impart it to the clouds, and it is that water which Indra poureth down
as rain. Here dwell diverse kinds of aquatic animals, of various shapes
such as the Timi and others, which subsist on the rays of the moon. O
charioteer, here are many kinds of creatures that die during the day,
being pierced by the rays of the sun, but all of whom revive in the
night, the reason being that the moon, rising here every day, laying
those deceased creatures with Amrita by means of rays, that constitute
his arms, resuscitate them by that touch. Deprived of their prosperity by
Vasava, it is here that many sinful Danavas live confined, defeated by
him and afflicted by Time. It was here that the Lord of creatures--that
great Master of all created things--Mahadeva--had practised the severest
of ascetic austerities for the benefit of all creatures. Here dwell many
regenerate and great Rishis observant of vows called ‘Go’ and emaciated
with the recitation and study of the Vedas, and who, having suspended the
vital air called Prana, have attained to heaven by force of their
austerities. A man is said to adopt the vow called Go, when he sleepeth
wherever he listeth, and when he subsisteth on anything that others place
before him, and is clad with robes that others may supply. Here in the
race of the celebrated elephant Supratika were born those best of
elephants known by the names of Airavata, Vamana, Kumuda and Anjana, the
first being the king of his tribe. Look, O Matali, if there be any
bridegroom here, that is distinguished by the possession of superior
merits, for then I will go to him for respectfully soliciting him to
accept thy daughter. Behold, here lieth an egg in these waters, blazing
with beauty. From the commencement of the creation it is here. It moveth
not, nor doth it burst. I have never heard any body speaking of its birth
or nature. Nobody knoweth who its father or mother is. It is said, O
Matali, that when the end of the world cometh, mighty fire burst forth
from within it, and spreading consumeth the three worlds with all their
mobile and immobile objects.’ Hearing those words of Narada, Matali
answered him, saying, ‘No one here seems to me to be eligible. Let us go
hence, therefore, without delay!’”’”


“‘Narada continued, “Here is that spacious and celebrated city of cities,
called Hiranyapura, belonging to the Daityas and Danavas, possessing a
hundred diverse kinds of illusion. Here in these regions called Patala,
it hath been built with great care by the divine artificer, and planned
by the Danava Maya. Endued with great energy and heroism, many Danavas,
having obtained boons (from Brahman) in days of old, lived here,
exhibiting a thousand different kinds of illusion. They were incapable of
being vanquished by Sakra or any other celestial, that is, by either
Yama, or Varuna, or the Lord of treasures (Kuvera). Here dwell, O Matali,
those Asuras called Kalakhanjas who sprang from Vishnu, and those
Rakshasas also called Yatudhanas who sprang from the feet of Brahman. All
of them are endued with frightful teeth, terrible impetus, the speed and
prowess of the wind, and great energy depending on powers of illusion.
Besides these, another class of Danavas called Nivatakavachas, who are
invincible in battle, have their abode here. Thou knowest how Sakra is
unable to vanquish them. Many times, O Matali, thou, with thy son
Gomukha, and the chief of the celestials and lord of Sachi, along with
his son, had to retreat before them. Behold their homes, O Matali, that
are all made of silver and gold, and well-adorned with decorations done
according to the rules of art. All those mansions are decked with lapis
lazuli and corals, and made effulgent with the lustre of the
Arkasphatika, and the radiance of gem called Vajrasara. And many of those
palatial residences seem as if they have been made of the shine of
these gems called Padmaragas, or of bright marble, or of excellent wood.
And they are also possessed of the radiance of the sun, or blazing fire.
And all the edifices, adorned with gems and jewels, are very high and
stand close to another. Of spacious proportions and great architectural
beauty, it is impossible to say of what material these mansions are built
or to describe their style of beauty. Indeed, they are exceedingly
beautiful in consequence of their decorations. Behold these retreats of
the Daityas for recreation and sport, these beds of theirs for sleep,
these costly utensils of theirs set with precious stones, and these seats
also for their use. Behold these hills of theirs, looking like clouds,
those fountains of water, these trees also that move of their own will
and that yield all fruits and flowers that one may ask. See, O Matali, if
any bridegroom may be had here, acceptable to thee. If no one can be
found, we shalt, if thou likest, go hence to some other part of the
world.” Thus addressed, Matali answered Narada, saying, “O celestial
Rishi, it behoveth me not to do anything that may be disagreeable to
dwellers of heaven. The gods and the Danavas, though brothers, are ever
at hostility with each other. How can I, therefore, make an alliance with
those that are our enemies? Let us repair, therefore, to some other
place. It behoveth me not to search among the Danavas. As regards
thyself, I know thy heart is ever set on fomenting quarrels.”’”


“‘Narada said, “This region belongeth to the birds, all of whom possess
excellent feathers. They all subsist on snakes. They never feel any
fatigue in putting forth their prowess, or in making journeys, or in
bearing burthens. This race, O charioteer, hath multiplied from the six
sons of Garuda. They are Sumukha, Sunaman, Sunetra, Suvarchas, Suanch and
that prince of birds called Suvala. Born of Kasyapa’s line and enhancing
the glory of Vinata’s race, many winged creatures, the foremost of their
species, have by begetting children founded and increased a thousand
dynasties of birds, all endued with nobility of blood. All these
creatures are endued with great prosperity, have the auspicious whirl
called Sreevatsa, possess great wealth, and are inspired with great
might. By their acts they may be said to belong to the Kshatriya order,
but they are all without any compassion, subsisting as they do on snakes.
They never attain to spiritual enlightenment in consequence of their
preying on their kinsmen. I will now enumerate the chiefs by their names,
listen to me, O Matali. This race is much regarded in consequence of the
favour that is shown to it by Vishnu. They all worship Vishnu, and
Vishnu is their protector. Vishnu always dwelleth in their hearts, and
Vishnu is their great refuge. These then are their names--Suvarnachuda,
Nagasin Daruna, Chandatundaka, Anala, Vaisalaksha, Kundalin, Pankajit,
Vajraviskambha, Vainateya, Vamana, Vatavega, Disachakshu, Nimisha,
Animisha, Trirava, Saptarava, Valmiki, Dipaka, Daityadwipa, Saridwipa,
Sarasa, Padmaketana, Sumukha, Chitraketu, Chitravara, Anagha, Meshahrit,
Kumuda, Daksha, Sarpanta, Somabhojana, Gurubhara, Kapota, Suryanetra,
Chirantaka, Vishnudharman, Kumara, Parivarha, Hari, Suswara, Madhuparka,
Hemavarna, Malaya, Matariswan, Nisakara and Divakara. These sons of
Garuda that I name dwell in only a single province of this region. I have
mentioned those only that have won distinction by might, fame and
achievements. If thou likest none here, come, we will go hence. O Matali.
I will take thee to another region where thou mayest find an eligible
husband for thy daughter.”’”


“‘Narada said, “The region where we now are is called Rasatala and is the
seventh stratum below the Earth. Here dwelleth Surabhi, the mother of all
kine, she, who was born of the Amrita. She always yieldeth milk which is
the essence of all the best things of the earth, and which, excellent as
it is, and of one taste, springeth from the essence of the six different
kinds of tastes (that are talked of). The faultless Surabhi herself
sprang in days of old from the mouth of the Grandsire, gratified with
drinking the Amrita and vomiting the best things. A single jet only of
her milk, falling on the earth, created what is known as the sacred and
the excellent ‘Milky Ocean.’ The verge of that ocean all round is always
covered with white foam resembling a belt of flowers. Those best of
ascetics that are known by the name of the Foam-drinkers dwell around
this ocean, subsisting on that foam only. They are called Foam-drinkers
because they live, O Matali, on nothing else save that foam. Engaged in
the practice of the severest of austerities, the very gods are known to
fear them. From her are born four other kine, O Matali, supporting the
four quarters and therefore are they called the supporters of the
quarters (Dikpali). Born of Surabhi herself, she who supporteth the
eastern quarter is called Surupa. She, who supporteth the southern
quarter is called Hansika. That illustrious cow, O Matali, of universal
form, who supporteth the western quarter ruled by Varuna is known by the
name of Subhadra. The northern quarter comprising the region of virtue,
and called after Kuvera the Lord of treasures, is supported by the cow
named Sarva-kamadugha. The gods, uniting with the Asuras, and making the
Mandara mountain their pole, churned the waters of the ocean and obtained
the wine called Varuni, and (the Goddess of Prosperity and Grace called)
Lakshmi, and Amrita, and that prince of steeds called Uchchhaisrava, and
that best of gems called Kaustubha. Those waters, O Matali, that yielded
these precious things had all been mixed with the milk of these four
cows. As regards Surabhi, the milk she yielded becometh Swaha unto those
that live on Swaha, Swadha unto those that live on Swadha, and Amrita
unto those that live on Amrita. The couplet that was sung by the dwellers
of Rasatala in days of old, is still heard to be recited in the world by
the persons of learning. That couplet is this,--Neither in the region of
the Nagas, nor in Swarga, nor in Vimana, nor in Tripishtapa is residence
so happy as in Rasatala!”’”


“‘Narada said, “This foremost of cities that thou beholdest and which
resembles the Amaravati of the chief of the celestials himself, is known
by the name of Bhogavati. It is ruled over by Vasuki, the king of the
Nagas. That Shesha dwelleth here, who, in consequence of his ascetic
austerities of the foremost order, is able to support this earth with all
her vastness. His body is like that of a white mountain. He is decked in
celestial ornaments. He hath a thousand heads. His tongues are blazing
like flames of fire, and he is endued with great strength. There dwell in
happiness innumerable Nagas--sons of Surasa--possessed of diverse forms,
and decked in ornaments of diverse kinds, bearing the signs of gems,
Swastika, circles and drinking vessels. All of them endued with great
strength are by nature fierce. Some have a thousand heads, some five
hundred, and some three. And some have two heads, and some five, and some
have seven faces. And all of them are possessed of huge bodies that
resemble the mountains stretching over the earth. Millions and tens of
millions are they, in fact, uncountable, even as regards those of them
that belong to a single race. Listen, however, to me as I name a few of
the more famous ones amongst them. They are Vasuki, Takshaka, Karkotaka,
Dhanjaya, Kaliya, Nahusha, Aswatara, Vakyakunda, Mani, Apurana, Khaga,
Vamana, Elapatra, Kukura, Kukuna, Aryaka, Nandaka, Kalasa, Potaka,
Kalilasaka, Pinjaraka, Airavata, Sumanmukha, Dadhimukha, Sankha, Nanda,
Upanandaka, Apta, Kotaraka, Sikhi, Nishthuraka, Tittiri, Hastibhadra,
Kumuda, Maylapindaka, the two Padmas, Pundarika, Pushpa, Mudgaraparnaka,
Karavira, Pitharaka, Samvritta, Vritta, Pindara, Vilwapatra, Mushikada,
Sirishaka, Dilipa, Sankha-sirsha, Jyotishka, Aparajita, Kauravya,
Dhritarashtra, Kuhara, Krisaka, Virajas, Dharana, Savahu, Mukhara, Jaya,
Vidhira, Andha, Visundi, Virasa, and Sarasa. These and many others there
are amongst the sons of Kasyapa. See O Matali, if there is anybody here
whom thou canst elect.”’

“Kanwa continued, ‘Matali, meanwhile, had been looking attentively at a
person that stood by. And after Narada had ceased speaking, the celestial
charioteer with gratified mind asked the Rishi, saying, “Of what race is
he the delighter--that comely youth of great radiance--who standeth
before Aryaka of Kauravya’s line? Who is his father, and who is his
mother? Of what Naga’s race is he? Indeed, of what line doth he stand as
a high flag-staff? In consequence of his intelligence, his patience, his
beauty, and his youth, my heart, O celestial Rishi, hath been attracted
towards him. That youth will make the best of husbands for my Gunakesi.”’

“Kanwa continued, ‘Beholding Matali’s gratification at seeing the Naga
called Sumukha, Narada informed him of the nobility of his parentage and
of his feats. And he said, “Born in the race of Airavata this prince of
Nagas is named Sumukha. He is the favourite grandson of Aryaka, and the
daughter’s son of Vamana. The father of this youth was, O Matali, the
Naga called Chikura. Not long before was he slain by Vinata’s Son.”
 Hearing this Matali became highly pleased, and addressing Narada, the
charioteer said, “This best of Nagas is, O sire, very acceptable to me
for a son-in-law. Make an endeavour to secure him, for I am highly
pleased at the thought of bestowing on this Naga, O Muni, my dear


“‘Narada then said, “This one is the charioteer of the name of Matali. He
is besides a dear friend of Sakra. Pure in conduct, he hath an excellent
disposition and possesses numerous virtues. Endued with strength of mind,
he hath great energy and great might. He is the friend, counsellor, and
charioteer of Sakra. It has been seen in every battle that small is the
difference that exists between him and Vasava as regards prowess and
strength. In all the battles between the gods and Asuras, it is this
Matali that driveth, by his mind alone, that ever-victorious and best of
cars belonging to Indra, which is drawn by thousand steeds. Vanquished by
his management of the steeds, the enemies of the gods are subjugated by
Vasava by the use of his hands. Defeated before-hand by Matali, the
Asuras are subsequently slain by Indra. Matali hath an excellent
daughter, who in beauty is unrivalled in the world. Truthful and
possessed of every accomplishment, she is known by the name of Gunakesi.
He was searching the three worlds for an eligible bridegroom. O thou that
art possessed of the splendour of a celestial, thy grandson, Sumukha,
hath become acceptable to him as a husband for his daughter. If O best of
serpents, his proposal be acceptable to thee, quickly make up thy mind, O
Aryaka, to take his daughter in gift for thy grandson. As Lakshmi in
Vishnu’s house, or Swaha in that of Agni so let the slender-waisted
Gunakesi be a wife in thy race. Let Gunakesi, therefore be accepted by
thee for thy grandson, like Sachi for Vasava who deserveth her. Although
this youth hath lost his father, yet we choose him for his virtues, and
for the respectability of Airavata and thy own. Indeed, it is in
consequence of Sumukha’s merits, his disposition, purity, self-restraint
and other qualifications that Matali hath become himself desirous of
giving away his daughter unto him. It behoveth thee, therefore, to honour

“Kanwa continued, ‘Thus addressed by Narada, Aryaka beholding his
grandson elected as a bridegroom and remembering the death of his son was
filled with delight and sorrow at the same time. And he then addressed
Narada and said, “How, O celestial Rishi, can I desire Gunakesi for a
daughter-in-law! It cannot be, O great Rishi, that thy words are not
highly honoured by me, for who is there that would not desire an alliance
with the friend of Indra? I hesitate, however, O great Muni, in
consequence of the instability of the very cause that would not make that
alliance lasting. O thou of great effulgence, the author of this youth,
viz., my son, hath been devoured by Garuda. We are afflicted with sorrow
on that account. But worse still, O lord, Vinata’s son, at the time of
leaving these regions, said, ‘After a month I will devour this Sumukha
also.’ Surely, it will happen as he hath said, for we know with whom we
have to deal. At these words, therefore, of Suparna we have become

“Kanwa continued, ‘Matali then said unto Aryaka, “I have formed a plan.
This thy grandson is elected by me as my son-in-law. Let this Naga then,
proceeding with me and Narada, come to the Lord of heaven the chief of
the celestials, O best of Nagas. I shall then endeavour to place
obstacles in the way of Suparna, and as a last resource, we will
ascertain the period of life that hath been vouchsafed to Sumukha.
Blessed be thou, O Naga, let Sumukha, therefore, come with me to the
presence of the Lord of the celestials.” Saying this, they took Sumukha
with them, and all the four, endued with great splendour, coming to
heaven beheld Sakra the chief of the gods seated in all his glory. And it
so happened that the illustrious Vishnu of four arms was also present
there. Narada then represented the whole story about Matali and his

“Kanwa continued, ‘Hearing all that Narada said, Vishnu directed
Purandara, the Lord of the universe, saying, “Let Amrita be given to this
youth, and let him be made immortal like gods themselves. Let Matali, and
Narada, and Sumukha, O Vasava, all attain their cherished wish through
thy grace.” Purandara, however, reflecting on the prowess of Vinata’s
son, said unto Vishnu, “Let Amrita be given unto him by thee.” Thus
addressed, Vishnu said, “Thou art the Lord of all mobile and immobile
creatures. Who is there, O lord, that would refuse a gift that may be
made by thee?” At these words Sakra gave unto that Naga length of days.
The slayer of Vala and Vritra did not make him a drinker of Amrita.
Sumukha, having obtained that boon, became Sumukha[11] (in reality) for
his face was suffused with marks of joy. And having married Matali’s
daughter, he cheerfully returned home. And Narada and Aryaka also filled
with delight at the success of their object, went away, after having
worshipped the glorious chief of the celestials.’”


“Kanwa said, ‘Meanwhile, O Bharata, the mighty Garuda heard what had
happened, viz., the bestowal by Sakra of length of days on the Naga
Sumukha. And inflamed with great anger, that ranger of the firmament,
Suparna, smiting the three worlds by the hurricane caused by the
flappings of his wings, quickly came to Vasava. And Garuda said, “O
illustrious one, disregarding me why hast thou interfered with my
sustenance. Having granted me a boon of thy own will, why dost thou now
withdraw it? The Supreme Lord of all creatures hath, from the beginning,
ordained what my food is to be. Why dost thou then stand in the way of
that divine decree? I had selected this great Naga and had fixed time,
for O god, I had intended to offer the meat of his body, as sustenance to
my numerous progeny. When he, therefore, hath obtained a boon from thee
and hath become indestructible by me, how can I henceforth dare kill
another of his species? Dost thou sport thus, O Vasava, as thou listest?
I, however, shall have to die, as also the members of my family and the
servants whom I have engaged in my house. That will, I think, gratify
thee, O Vasava! Indeed, O slayer of Vala and Vritra, I deserve all this,
nay more, since being the lord of the three worlds in might, I yet
consented to become the servant of another. O monarch of the three
worlds, Vishnu, however, is not the only cause of my inferiority, for
though, O Vasava, I am quite thy equal, yet the sovereignty of the three
worlds resteth on thee, O chief of the celestials. Like thee, I also have
a daughter of Daksha for my mother and Kasyapa for my father. Like thee,
I also can, without any fatigue, bear the weight of the three worlds. I
have strength that is immeasurable and incapable of being resisted by any
creature. In the war with the Daityas I also achieved grand feats.
Srutasri and Srutasena and Vivaswat, and Rochanamukha, and Prasrura, and
Kalakaksha amongst the sons of Diti were slain by me. Perching yet on the
flag-staff of thy younger brother’s car I carefully protect it in battle,
and sometimes also I bear that brother of thine on my back. It is,
perhaps, for this that thou disregardest me. Who else in the universe is
there that is capable of bearing such heavy burthens? Who is there that
is stronger than myself? Superior though I am, I yet bear on my back this
younger brother of thine with all his friends. When, however,
disregarding me thou hast interfered with my foods, thou hast, O Vasava,
inflicted disgrace on me, like this younger brother of thine that had
hitherto been disgracing me by making me bear him on my back. As regards
thyself, O Vishnu, amongst all those endued with prowess and strength
that have been born of Aditi’s womb, thou art superior in strength. Yet
thee I bear without any fatigue, with only one of my feathers. Think
coolly then, O brother, who amongst us is stronger?”’

“Kanwa continued, ‘Hearing the proud words of that bird foreshadowing
danger the bearer of the discus, provoking Tarkshya still more, said unto
him, “Though so very weak, why dost thou, O Garuda, yet regard thyself
strong, O oviparous creature, it ill behoveth thee to vaunt thus in our
presence. The three worlds united together cannot bear the weight of my
body. I myself bear my own weight and thine also. Come now, bear thou the
weight of this one right arm of mine. If thou canst bear even this, thy
boast would be regarded as reasonable.” Saying this, the holy one placed
his arms on Garuda’s shoulders. Thereupon the latter fell down, afflicted
with its weight, confounded, and deprived of his senses. And Garuda felt
that the weight of that one arm of Vishnu was as great as that of the
entire Earth with her mountains. Endued with might infinitely greater,
Vishnu, however, did not afflict him much. Indeed, Achyuta did not take
his life. That ranger of the sky, afflicted then by that immense weight,
gasped for breath, and began to cast off his feathers. With every limb
weakened, and utterly confounded, Garuda was almost deprived of his
senses. The winged offspring of Vinata then, thus confounded and almost
deprived of his senses, and rendered utterly helpless, bowing unto Vishnu
with bent bead, feebly addressed him, saying, “O illustrious Lord, the
essence of that strength which sustains the universe dwelleth in this
body of thine. What wonder, therefore, that I should be crushed down to
the earth by a single arm of thine, stretched out at thy pleasure. It
behoveth thee, O divine Lord, to forgive this winged creature that
perches on thy flag-staff--this fool intoxicated with pride of strength,
but now rendered utterly helpless. Thy great strength, O divine Lord, was
never known to me before. It was for this that I regarded my own might to
be unequalled.” Thus addressed, the illustrious Vishnu became gratified,
and addressing Garuda with affection, said, “Let not thy behaviour be
such again.” And saying this, Upendra threw Sumukha with the toe of his
foot upon Garuda’s breast. And from that time, O king, Garuda hath ever
lived in friendship with that snake. It was thus, O king, that mighty and
illustrious Garuda, the son of Vinata, afflicted by the might of Vishnu,
was cured of his pride.’

“Kanwa continued, ‘In the same way, O son of Gandhari, thou livest, O
son, as long as thou approachest not the heroic sons of Pandu in battle.
Who is there whom Bhima, that foremost of smiters, that mighty son of
Vayu and Dhananjaya, the son of Indra, cannot slay in battle? Vishnu
himself, and Vayu and Dharma, and the Aswins,--these gods are thy
enemies. Let alone an encounter with them, thou art not competent even to
look at them on the field. Therefore, O prince, do not set thy heart upon
war; let peace be made through the agency of Vasudeva. It behoveth thee
to save thy race thus. This great ascetic Narada witnessed with his own
eyes the incident (I have related to thee) which shows the greatness of
Vishnu, and know that this Krishna is that bearer of the discus and the

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of the Rishi, Duryodhana
contracted his eye-brows and began to breathe heavily. And casting his
eyes then on Radha’s son, he burst out into a loud laughter. And setting
at naught those words of the Rishi, that wicked wretch began to slap his
thigh that resembled the trunk of an elephant. And addressing the Rishi,
he said, ‘I am, O great Rishi, precisely what the Creator hath made me.
What is to be, must be. What also hath been ordained in my case must
happen, I cannot act otherwise. What can these senseless declamations,
therefore, avail?’”


Janamejaya said, “Interminably wedded to evil, blinded by avarice,
addicted to wicked courses, resolved upon bringing destruction on his
head, inspiring grief in the hearts of kinsmen, enhancing the woes of
friends, afflicting all his well-wishers, augmenting the joys of foes,
and treading the wrong path, why did not his friends seek to restrain
him, and why also did not that great friend (of Kuru’s race), the holy
One with tranquil soul, or the Grandsire tell him anything from

Vaisampayana said, “Yes, the holy one did speak. Bhishma also spoke what
was beneficial. And Narada too said much. Listen to all that these said.”

Vaisampayana continued, “Narada said, ‘Persons that listen to the
counsels of friends are rare. Friends again are rare that offer
beneficial counsels, for a friend (in need of counsel) is never there
where a friend (offering counsel) is. O son of Kuru’s race, I think, the
word of friends ought to be listened to. Obstinacy ought to be avoided;
for it is fraught with great evil. In this connection is cited an old
story regarding Galava’s having met with disgrace through obstinacy. In
ancient times, in order to test Viswamitra, who was then engaged in
ascetic austerities. Dharma personally came to him, having assumed the
form of the Rishi, Vasishtha. Thus assuming, O Bharata, the form of the
one of the seven Rishis, and feigning himself hungry and desirous of
eating, he came, O king, to the hermitage of Kausika. Thereupon,
Viswamitra struck with awe, began to cook Charu (which was a preparation
of rice and milk). And in consequence of the care he took in preparing
that excellent food, he could not properly wait upon his guest. And it
was not till after the guest had dined on the food offered by the other
hermits that Viswamitra succeeded in approaching him with the Charu he
had cooked and which was still steaming. “I have already dined; wait
here,”--were the words that the holy one said. And having said that the
holy one went away. And thereupon, the illustrious Viswamitra, O king,
waited there. And bearing that food on his head and holding it with his
arms, that ascetic of rigid vow stood in his hermitage, still as a post,
subsisting on air. And as he stood there, an ascetic of the name of
Galava, from motives of respect and reverence and from affection and
desire of doing what was agreeable, began to wait upon him. And after a
hundred years had passed away, Dharma, again assuming the form of
Vasishtha, came to Kausika from desire of eating. And beholding the great
Rishi Viswamitra, who was endued with high wisdom, standing there with
that food on his head, himself subsisting all the while on air, Dharma
accepted that food which was still warm and fresh. And having eaten that
food, the god said,--“Gratified am I, O regenerate Rishi.” And saying this,
he went away. And at those words of Dharma, Viswamitra divested of
Kshatriyahood because endued with the status of a Brahmana and was filled
with delight[12]. And pleased as he was with the services and devotion of
his discipline, the ascetic Galava, Viswamitra, addressed him and said,
“With my leave, O Galava, go whithersoever thou mayest wish.” Thus
commanded by his preceptor, Galava, highly pleased, said in a sweet voice
unto Viswamitra of great effulgence, “What final gift shall I make thee in
consequence of thy services as preceptor? O giver of honours, it is in
consequence of the (final) present that a sacrifice becometh successful.
The giver of such gifts obtains emancipation. Indeed, these gifts
constitute the fruit (that one enjoys in heaven). They are regarded as
peace and tranquillity personified. What, therefore, shall I procure for
my preceptor? Oh, let that be said.” The illustrious Viswamitra knew that
he had really been conquered by Galava by means of the latter’s services,
and the Rishi, therefore, sought to dismiss him by repeatedly saying,
“Go, Go.” But though repeatedly commanded by Viswamitra to go away, Galava
still addressed him saying, “What shall I give?” And seeing this
obstinacy on the part of ascetic Galava, Viswamitra felt a slight rise of
anger and at last said, “Give me eight hundred steeds, every one of which
should be as white as the rays of the moon, and every one of which should
have one ear black. Go now, O Galava, and tarry not.”’”


“Narada said, ‘Thus addressed by Viswamitra of great intelligence Galava
was filled with such anxiety that he could not sit or lie down, or take
his food. A prey to anxiety and regret, lamenting bitterly, and burning
with remorse, Galava grew pale, and was reduced to a skeleton. And
smitten with sorrow, O Suyodhana, he indulged in these lamentations,
“Where shall I find affluent friends? Where shall I find money? Have I
any savings? Where shall I find eight hundred steeds of lunar whiteness?
What pleasure can I have in eating? What happiness can be mine in objects
of enjoyment? The very love of life is extinct in me. What need have I of
life? Repairing to the other shore of the great ocean, or to the furthest
verge of the earth, I will relinquish my life. Of what use can life be to
me? What happiness, without severe exertion, can be his who is poor,
unsuccessful, deprived of all the good things of life, and burthened with
debt? Death is preferable to life as regards him who having enjoyed the
wealth of friends through their friendship for himself, is unable to
return their favour. The religious acts of that man lose their efficacy
who having promised to do an act fails to perform it and is thus stained
with falsehood. One that is stained by falsehood cannot have beauty, or
children, or power, or influence. How, therefore, can such a one attain
to a blissful state? What ungrateful man hath ever earned fame? Where,
indeed, is his place, and where his happiness? An ungrateful person can
never win esteem and affection. Salvation also can never be his. He that
is destitute of wealth is a wretch that can scarcely be said to live.
Such a wretch cannot support his kinsmen and friends. Unable to make any
return for the benefits he receiveth, he certainly meeteth with
destruction. Even I am that wretch, ungrateful, destitute of resources,
and stained with falsehood, for having obtained my objects from my
preceptor, I am unable to do his bidding. Having first endeavoured to the
utmost, I will lay down my life. Before this, I never craved for any
thing from the very gods. The deities regard me for this in sacrificial
place. I will go and seek the protection of Vishnu, the divine Lord of
the three worlds, of Krishna the great refuge of all who are blessed with
protection. Bowing down unto him, I desire to see that highest of all
ascetics, the Eternal Krishna from whom flow all those possessions and
enjoyments that are owned by both gods and Asuras.” And while Galava was
thus lamenting, his friend Garuda, the son of Vinata, appeared in his
sight. And Garuda, from desire of doing him good, cheerfully addressed
him, saying, “Thou art a dear friend of mine. It is the duty of a friend,
when himself in prosperity, to look to the accomplishment of the wishes
of his friends. The prosperity that I have, O Brahmana, is constituted by
Vasava’s younger brother Vishnu. Before this, I spoke to him on thy
behalf and he hath been pleased to grant my wishes. Come now, we will go
together. I will bear thee comfortably to the other shore of the ocean,
or to the furthest extremity of the earth. Come, O Galava, do not tarry.”’”


“‘Garuda said, “O Galava, commanded I have been by God, who is the cause
of all knowledge. I ask thee, towards which quarter shall I first take
thee to see what lie there? The eastern, the southern, the western, or
the northern, towards which, O best of regenerate persons, shall I go, O
Galava? That quarter towards which Surya the illuminator of the universe
first riseth; where, at eve, the Sadhyas engage in their ascetic
austerities; where that Intelligence, which pervades the whole universe
first springeth; where the two eyes of Dharma, as well as he himself, are
stationed; where the clarified butter first poured in sacrifice
subsequently flowed all around; that quarter, O best of all regenerate
persons, is the gate of Day and Time. There the daughters of Daksha, in
primeval times, gave birth to their children. There the sons of Kasyapa
first multiplied. That quarter is the source of all the prosperity of the
gods, for it was there that Sakra was first anointed as the king of the
celestials. It was there, O regenerate Rishi, that both Indra and the
gods underwent their ascetic penances. It is for this, O Brahmana, that
this quarter is called Purva (the first). And because in the earliest of
times this quarter was overspread by the Suras, it is for this that it is
called Purva. The gods, desirous of prosperity, performed all their
religious ceremonies here. It was here that the divine Creator of the
universe first sang the Vedas. It was here that the Gayatri was first
preached by Surya unto the reciters of that sacred hymn. It was here, O
best of Brahmanas, that the Yajurvedas  were delivered by Surya (unto
Yajnavalkya). It was here that the Soma juice, sanctified by boons, was
first drunk in sacrifices by Suras. It was here that the Homa-fires,
(gratified by mantras), first drank articles of cognate origin.[13] It
was here that Varuna first repaired to the nether regions, and attained
to all his prosperity. It was here, O bull among the twice-born, that the
birth, growth, and death of the ancient Vasishtha took place. Here first
grew the hundred different branches of Om![14] It was here that the
smoke-eating Munis are the smoke of sacrificial fires. It was in that
region that myriads of boars and other animals were killed by Sakra and
offered as sacrificial portions unto the gods. It is here that the
thousand-rayed sun, arising, consumeth, out of ire, all those that are
wicked and ungrateful among men and the Asuras. This is the gate of the
three worlds. This is the path of heaven and felicity. This quarter is
called Purva (east). We will go hither, if it pleaseth thee. I shall
always do what is agreeable to him who is my friend. Tell me, O Galava,
if any other quarter pleaseth thee, for we will then go there. Listen now
to what I say of another quarter.”’”


“‘Garuda continued, “In days of yore, Vivaswat, having performed a
sacrifice, gave this quarter away as a present (Dakshina) unto his
preceptor. And it is for this that this region is known by the name of
Dakshina (south). It is here that the Pitris of the three worlds have
their habitation. And, O Brahmana, it is said that a class of celestials
subsisting upon smoke alone also live there. Those celestials also that
go by the name of Viswedevas always dwell in this region along with the
Pitris. Worshipped in sacrifices in all the worlds, they are equal
sharers with the Pitris. This quarter is called the second door of Yama.
It is here that the periods allotted to men are calculated in Trutis and
Lavas.[15] In this region always dwell the celestial Rishis, the
Pitriloka Rishis, and the royal Rishis, in great happiness. Here are
religion and truth. It is here that the acts (of persons) exhibit their
fruits. This region, O best of the twice-born, is the goal of the acts of
the dead. It is this region, O best of regenerate persons, whither all
must repair. And as creatures are all overwhelmed by darkness, they
cannot, therefore, come hither in bliss. Here, O bull among regenerate
persons, are many thousands of Malevolent Rakshasas in order to be seen
by the sinful. Here, O Brahmana, in the bowers on the breast of Mandara
and in the abodes of regenerate Rishis, the Gandharvas chant psalms,
stealing away both the heart and the intellect. It was here that Raivata
(a Daitya), hearing the Sama hymns sung in a sweet voice, retired to the
woods, leaving his wife and friends and kingdom. In this region, O
Brahmana, Manu and Yavakrita’s son together set a limit which Surya can
never overstep. It was here that the illustrious descendant of Pulastya,
Ravana, the king of the Rakshasas, undergoing ascetic austerities,
solicited (the boon of) immortality from the gods. It was here that (the
Asura) Vritra, in consequence of his wicked conduct, incurred the enmity
of Sakra. It is in this region that lives of diverse forms all come and
are then dissociated into their five (constituent) elements. It is in
this region, O Galava, that men of wicked deeds rot (in tortures). It is
here that the river Vaitarani flows, filled with the bodies of persons
condemned to hell. Arrived here, persons attain to the extremes of
happiness and misery. Reaching this region, the sun droppeth sweet waters
and thence proceeding again to the direction named after (Vasishtha),
once more droppeth dew. It was here that I once obtained (for food), a
prodigious elephant battling with an enormous tortoise. It was here that
the great sage Chakradhanu took his birth from Surya. That divine sage
afterwards came to be known by the name of Kapila, and it was by him that
the (sixty thousand) sons of Sagara were afflicted. It was here that a
class of Brahmanas named Sivas, fully mastering the Vedas, became crowned
with (ascetic) success. Having studied all the Vedas they at last
attained eternal salvation. In this region is the city called Bhogavati
that is ruled by Vasuki, by the Naga Takshaka and also by Airavata. They
that have to journey hither (after death) encounter here a thick gloom.
And so thick is that gloom that it cannot be penetrated by either the Sun
himself or by Agni. Worthy of worship as thou art, even thou shalt have
to pass this road. Tell me now if thou wishest to sojourn towards this
direction. Else, listen to an account of the western direction.”’”


“‘Garuda said, “This quarter is the favourite one of king Varuna, the
ruler of the ocean. Indeed, the lord of the waters had his origin here,
and it is hither that sovereignty lieth. And since it is here that
towards the day’s end (paschat) the sun dismisseth his rays that this
quarter, O best of the twice-born ones, is called the west (paschima).
For ruling over all aquatic creatures and for the protection of the water
themselves, illustrious and divine Kasyapa installed Varuna here (as the
king of this region). Quaffing all the six juices of Varuna, the moon,
the dispeller of darkness, becometh young again in the beginning of the
fortnight. It was in the quarter, O Brahmana, that the Daityas were
routed and bound fast by the wind-god. And afflicted by a mighty tempest,
and breathing hard (as they fled), they at last laid themselves down in
this region to sleep (the sleep that knows no waking). Hither is that
mountain called Asta which is the cause of the evening twilight, and
which (daily) receiveth the sun lovingly turning towards it. It is from
this quarter that both Night and Sleep, issuing out at the close of day,
spread themselves, as if, for robbing all living creatures of half their
allotted periods of life. It was here that Sakra, beholding (his
stepmother) the goddess Diti lying asleep in a state of pregnancy, cut
off the foetus (into forty-nine parts), whence sprang the (forty-nine)
Maruts. It is towards this direction that the roots of Himavat stretch
towards the eternal Mandara (sunk in the ocean). By journeying for even a
thousand years one cannot attain to the end of those roots. It is in this
region that Surabhi (the mother of cows), repairing to the shores of the
extensive lake, adorned with golden lotuses, poureth forth her milk. Here
in the midst of the ocean is seen the headless trunk of the illustrious
Swarbhanu (Rahu) who is always bent upon devouring both sun and the moon.
Here is heard the loud chanting of the Vedas by Suvarnasiras, who is
invincible and of immeasurable energy, and whose hair is eternally green.
It is in this region that the daughter of Muni Harimedhas remained
transfixed in the welkin in consequence of Surya’s injunction couched in
the words--Stop, Stop. Here, O Galava, wind, and fire, and earth, and
water, are all free, both day and night, from their painful sensations.
It is from this region that the sun’s course begins to deviate from the
straight path, and it is in this direction that all the luminous bodies
(the constellations) enter the solar sphere. And having moved for
twenty-eight nights with the sun, they come out of the sun’s course to
move in accompaniment with the moon. It is in this region that the rivers
which always feed the ocean have their sources. Here, in the abode of
Varuna, are the waters of the three worlds. In this region is situate the
abode of Anarta, the prince of snakes. And here is the unrivalled abode
also of Vishnu, who is without beginning and without end. In this region
is also situate the abode of the great Rishi Kasyapa, the son of Maricha.
The western quarter is thus narrated to thee in course of telling thee of
the different points. Tell me now, O Galava, towards which side, O best
of regenerate persons, shall we go?”’”


“‘Garuda said, “O Brahmanas, since this quarter saveth from sin, and since
one attaineth to salvation here, it is for this saying (Uttarana) power
that it is called the north (uttara). And, O Galava, because the abode of
all the treasures of the north stretches in a line towards the east and
the west, therefore is the north sometimes called the central region
(madhyama). And, O bull among the twice-born, in this region that is
superior to all, none can live that is unamiable, or of unbridled
passions, or unrighteous. Hither, in the asylum, known by the name of
Vadari, eternally dwell Krishna who is Narayana’s self, and Jishnu that
most exalted of all male beings, and Brahman (the Creator). Hither, on
the breast of Himavat always dwelleth Maheswara endued with the
effulgence of the fire that blazeth up at the end of the Yuga. As
Purusha, he sporteth here with Prakriti (the universal mother). Except by
Nara and Narayana, he is incapable of being seen by the diverse classes
of Munis, the gods with Vasava at their head, the Gandharvas, the
Yakshas, and the Siddhas. Though invested with Maya, him the eternal
Vishnu alone, of a thousand heads and thousand legs, can behold. It was
in this region that Chandramas (the moon) was installed into the
sovereignty of the entire regenerate order. It was in this region, O thou
foremost of all acquainted with Brahma, that Mahadeva first receiving her
on his head, afterwards let (the sacred stream) Ganga fall from the
heavens to the world of men. It was here that the Goddess (Uma) underwent
her ascetic austerities from her desire of obtaining Maheswara (as her
Lord). It was in this region that Kama, the wrath (of Siva), Himavat, and
Uma, all together shone brilliantly. It was here, on the breast of
Kailasa, O Galava, that Kuvera was installed on the sovereignty of the
Rakshasas, the Yakshas, and the Gandharvas. It is in this region that
(Kuvera’s gardens called) Chitraratha lie, and it is here that the asylum
of (the Munis called the) Vaikhanasas is situate. It is here, O bull
among the twice-born, that the celestial stream called Mandakini, and the
mountain Mandara are to be seen. It is here that the gardens called
Saugandhi-kanaka are always guarded by the Rakshasas. Here are many
plains covered with grassy verdure, as also the plantain forest, and
those celestial trees called the Sautanakas. It is in this region, O
Galava, that the Siddhas, with souls ever under control and always
sporting at will, have their fit abodes, abounding with every object of
enjoyment. It is here that the seven Rishis with Arundhati may be seen.
It is here that the constellation Swati is to be seen, and it is here
that it first rises to the view. It is in this region that the Grandsire
Brahman dwelleth in the vicinity of Yajna (sacrifice embodied). It is in
this quarter that the sun, the moon, and the other luminaries are seen to
revolve regularly.”

“‘“It is in this region, O foremost of Brahmanas, that those illustrious
and truth-speaking Munis called by the name of Dharma, guard the source of
the Ganges. The origi